Broadcaster, poet, brand manager and mother Michelle Borel gave students of her alma mater, St Francois Girls College, and Trinity College a small insight into her own life, in an effort to motivate them into doing something that will have a lasting impression on society.
She was speaking yesterday at the launch of the Power of One competition at the National Library, Port of Spain. The competition was established by Republic Bank and the Love Until Foundation, seeking to channel the positive energies of students of forms three and four into making a difference.
Borel said she was in the El Pecos restaurant explosion in Maraval two years ago but her faith got her through it in the shortest possible time, as she went to work the following day, much to the surprise of her peers. They told her: “But you were in an explosion yesterday!” and she responded: “Yes, but I am alive today. You get up and you keep going.”
The children were impressed and applauded.
“From that experience I realised I had an unshakeable faith. When you make a promise, keep it. Stay true to it. I was not sick, so I went to work. Understand the value of your word.”
Before that, Borel spoke of her school days, when she often pretended to be a newscaster during her lunch periods. A teacher noticed her voice and soon drafted her into hosting school events. While she was still at school, she landed a job with Radio Network Ltd.
“While pretending and practising to be a newscaster, someone was watching me. I made broadcasting my life and eventually I was making a living off it.
Everything you wish to do, it starts now, at this age. Write down your goals and when you want to achieve them. Someone is going to be watching.”
She also told the students to believe and dream, but when they get up, wake up their dreams with them. “You can never achieve too much. You have to keep going. Depression is when you look back. So appreciate the now.”
Simone Jones, general manager of Love Until, said the programme was aimed at the holistic development of youth at secondary-school level, engaging them in a positive way, while honing their leadership and creativity skills.
She told them: “The programme is to prepare you for independence and life outside of school. But it’s not all work. There are many rewards at the end.”
Jones said the winner of the competition gets $10,000 in prizes that also include scholarships..
Students are required to design a project that will have short-, medium- and long-term benefits. Some of the categories are environmental awareness, crime prevention, social injustice and advocacy, sexual responsibility and health.
Jones then formally launched the fourth instalment of the programme, after which mini videos were shown of successful, high-profile people who made a difference, such as Denzel Washington, Dr Martin Luther King Jr and US Navy Fleet Admiral William D Leahy.
The deadline for registration for the competition is December 1.