Ato Boldon shares a celebratory moment with the vice-principal and students of Point Fortin Secondary School during the Guardian in Education tour at the school on Thursday.
Photo: Sookdeo Baney
By Leah Mathura-Dookhoo
First formers of Point Fortin Senior Comprehensive School, sporting pristinely clean running shoes, ran over to former sprinting sensation Ato Boldon on Thursday, challenging him to a race.
Eager to see their sporting hero in action, scores of them lined the pathway leading to the schools multi-purpose hall to greet Boldon, who had only hours before arrived in the country.
He was there for another edition of the Guardian in Education tour.
Boldon, together with national cyclist Michael Phillips, former Miss Universe Wendy Fitzwilliam, Olympic swimming medallist George Bovell III and cricket star Brian Lara, are part of the tour which take the participants to schools across the country for a series of motivational session with students.
The project is endorsed and supported by the Ministry of Education, and is sponsored by the National Gas Company, RBTT, BG Trinidad and Tobago, Guardian Holdings Ltd and YARA.
Boldon told the students that it was necessary for him to tell of his trials and tribulations in life, so they could learn from him and follow their own destiny.
The Olympic medallist said he was so excited to be in Point Fortin that he dodged Hurricane Rita while travelling from Los Angeles to Miami, to arrive in the country to see them.
Speaking to hundreds of students, some also from the Vessigny Secondary and Cedros Composite schools, Boldon said everyone had the power to control his or her life.
He said that despite adversities and bad advice from friends, one should keep on the narrow path if he or she wanted to follow attain a goal.
You are going to meet people who will tell you you should not do this or do that. But, how are you going to know if it is right for you if you dont try it? he asked.
The greatest thing I have learnt in life is never be afraid to fail.
He said in everyday life, individuals have the power to control their destiny, yet some people were not aware of how much power they possess.
Too many young people get discouraged along the way, but what eventually happens to you ... is life.
He advised: You are steering a ship. Dont worry about the waves.
Speaking specifically to the young males in the crowd, Boldon called on them to have self-confidence for the right reasons.
He said that for much too long, young males in society had been portraying the bad boy mentality, when all the effort into such behaviour could be channelled into the right one.
Boldon said that during his track and field career there were times when he became depressed after a race or injury, but he learned quickly that life presented itself in many forms.
He said that despite what his detractors had said in the past, he had been blessed with his sprinting talent and hopes that others would be afforded the same opportunity.
Boldon said he continues to challenge himself in life, noting that he is now launching his acting career.
At the beginning of next year, he told the students, he will be starring alongside Hollywood mega star Bruce Willis in the production of the action comedy The Last Resort.
Boldon said he would be playing the role of Jack Johnson, a policeman.
However, he admitted to the students that he would be intimidated to work with Willis. I plan to get an acting coach to assist me, he said.
Only recently, Boldon began his broadcasting career with CBS and received his pilots licence in Los Angeles.