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Theo finds hard work has its rewards

Months of hard work paid off when teenager Theo Wolffe took top prize at the Alpha Phi Alpha Beautillion on Sunday.

Describing it as one of the best experiences of his life, the 16-year-old told The Royal Gazette: “It feels amazing to have won this year.

“When they called out my name it was such an uplifting experience and it shows that all my hard work and all the other beau's hard work finally paid off and it was a nice way to finish off the programme.”

Theo competed against five other young men from schools across the island and wowed the judges and crowd with his performance, winning a $5,000 scholarship.

Looking on were family and friends as the presentation took place at the Ruth Seaton James Auditorium. The demanding six-month all-inclusive skills and leadership programme started in January and consisted of workshops, community service, etiquette, a written essay and ticket sales for the finale.

“We started in December and it was kind of slow with meetings once a week. Once we began getting closer to the main event around April, we had three meetings per week and learnt how to step while practising our speeches and talents.

“Every week on Sunday we would go to the Maltilda Smith Williams rest home to help out and I think we all really enjoyed that, in particular because it was a humbling experience.”

An aspiring entrepreneur, Theo has one more year left before completing the Sixth Form programme at Warwick Academy and hopes to attend the University of Toronto to pursue a career in business administration. Outside of school he participates in the Bermuda Youth Parliament and is an active member of the school's jazz band as a saxophone leader.

The son of senior magistrate Juan Wolffe and Francoise Palau-Wolffe, he grew up bilingual — speaking both fluent English and French which added something special to his prepared speech.

“It was definitely beneficial,” he said.

“But I didn't really appreciate it until around my later stages when I sat my GCSE four years earlier than the rest of the kids in my class. I integrated French into my speech, using a quote from the French president and I have been able to network with a lot of French people all over the island who are actually helping me with university. My options are open because of it. French allows me to broaden my horizons and have more opportunities at my disposal.”

He stressed the importance of the youth voice on the island and urged young people to get involved in positive programmes such as the beautillion.

“Overall, it taught me many things that will help me in life, especially time management as it is a very rigorous programme with a lot of deadlines,” he added. “Meeting those have also helped me with school as well.

“It is an extremely beneficial experience for young men, realising that you're not limited to being just a young person — you have the potential to be something great and make a noticeable difference.”

Premier Michael Dunkley, left, and MP Diallo Rabain, the District Director of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, award the top scholarship of $5,000 to Warwick Academy's Theo Wolffe

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Published June 08, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 08, 2016 at 7:59 am)

Theo finds hard work has its rewards

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