Tuesday 14th June, 2005


A good name is key, Phillips tells students

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Former national cyclist Michael Phillips gives out a career handbook to students of Malick Youth Centre during last Friday’s Guardian in Education presentation.

Photo: Keith Matthews

By Jessica Pouchet

More banners than students greeted Michael Phillips, former national cyclist, at the Malick Youth Facility’s auditorium for the Guardian in Education presentation last Friday.

Malick Youth Centre’s principal manager Lennard Noen said about 20 students were missing, in addition to the seven who came to school. Nonetheless, Phillips made the motivational presentation.

“If there was one student I would still do it,” he said.

Phillips focused his talk on building a good name for oneself by following through with responsibilities.

“Whenever you do a project it’s your name you’re putting on the line.”

Painting, one of Phillips’ passions, served as an example. He brought one of his pieces close to the single row of students so they could see his signature. That signature, he said, represented his reputation.

He then helped the students apply the lesson to their own lives. He asked what trades the students enjoyed. Two said woodwork.

A project left only halfway done, Phillips said, would attach a bad reputation to a carpenter’s name, and would spread by word of mouth.

Mindy Mohan, 17, to whom Phillips presented a career handbook, said she wanted to be a hairdresser.

“Every time someone sits down in your chair, you are running a risk,” Phillips advised her.

Phillips discussed some of the obstacles students may find in life.

“One of the biggest challenges you’ll face is dealing with other people,” he said.

He added that profiling was a reality and future customers would be suspicious of them on occasion. But he advised them to accept the fact, and not take it personally. He said students should, instead, use it as an opportunity to positively build their reputations.

Phillips spoke in a relaxed, unrushed manner. When he finished, he opened the floor to questions and repeated that the students could ask anything.

“Being able to ask questions is a very important tool,” he said.

Mohan asked the price of his paintings.

Chrislon Bess, 17, appreciated Phillips’ openness: “I like how he come and break it down for us, because sometimes these speakers come and you can’t relate. But he made time for questions,” he said.

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