MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes inspires at Trafalgar
Talk about making a statement. On top of her many accomplishments including, but not limited to, owning her own business, attaining two MBA degrees, serving as Member of Parliament for Whitby, appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development and working with the Prime Minister of Canada, Celina Caesar-Chavannes captivated an audience of 200 Trafalgar girls yearning to hear more.
Celina shared with the girls her story. A story of a rollercoaster life that has brought her to where she is today. She did not always aspire to be in politics, but worked hard from an early age achieving a 99% average in highschool. “Being smart is cool, own being smart,” Celina says. “When you leave Trafalgar it should look like a prune, because you have ceased every day and squeezed all of the juice from the plum you had when you first started at the Castle.”
Celina left highschool at the top of the rollercoaster but, like most people in life, she made some mistakes and the ride started going downhill once she got to university. Her grades suffered and she felt alone and depressed. She encouraged the girls to make mistakes and explained that there was nothing wrong with making mistakes as long as you learned from them. She also reminded the girls of the importance of looking up when you fall flat on your face. “People make mistakes and fall flat on their face and that’s ok. It is important that when you fall flat on your face you turn around and look up at the possibilities. Take five minutes, put your hands behind your head, cross your legs, and always look up to those possibilities.”
After graduating university and in the midst of earning two MBA degrees, Celina opened a successful business before finding her legs in politics. Her rollercoaster ride was starting to look up. When asked by one of our junior students “Did you face discrimination on your journey into politics?” Celina said she’s never felt it. However, she explained she recognizes that being one of two black female politicians in a group of over 300 she has a resonsibility to speak for minorities whether it be based on gender, culture, religion or disability.
Her journey has not been an easy ride and, more recently, Celina has been diagnosed with depression. She tells the girls “it’s okay to not be okay” and says that talking about mental health and other issues we face helps us embrace our differences. Throughout her presentation the girls remained transfixed on Celina, her story, and her inspirational words: “You guys have so much potential, so much opportunity, so much promise that, from what I can see, you guys don’t see the barriers, you don’t see the limitations, you have fresh open eyes. You are the generation that will make our world a better place.”
We thank MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes for joining us, and making Chapel on March 3rd one to remember.