MONTREAL, OCTOBER 8, 2010 – The English Montreal School Board was proud to welcome back Stephanie Castagnier, a 1993 graduate of Vincent Massey Collegiate , who returned to her old high school on October 6 to speak to students. She is presently a high profile contestant in the newest edition of the television show The Apprentice, starring Donald Trump. It airs on NBC and Global.
Stephanie, 34 presently resides in Chicago. She has been a fighter since a very young age. Having both her parents pass away from AIDS when she was only a teenager, she started her career by putting herself through McGill University while working full-time. Since then, she has worked as a commercial banker, at which she found success at a young age and was ranked among the top commercial lenders in the country several years running. After being directly impacted by the effects of the recession in the financial sector, she is looking to take control of her life and be proactive in her career. Additionally, Stephanie founded Child Cause/Fear to Fire, a non-profit organization that provides a peer network to teens affected by AIDS and substance abuse by inspiring through the arts, and has authored a book titled "Fear to Fire." Stephanie is very athletic, a national speaker, and continues to write.
“It is great to be back,” she told a large gathering of Secondary IV and V students. “I have lots of good memories as captain of the volleyball team. I also played basketball and was part of track and field and debate teams,”
A francophone who grew up in the Plateau area, Stephanie said she made the choice to enrol in the English public sector and credits Vincent Massey with giving her the necessary competitive spirit which has made her successful in the real estate baking industry and the ability to beat out 25,000 competitors for a coveted spot on The Apprentice.”
Stephanie insists that from the time she moved to the United States she had as an objective to work for Donald Trump. “What sets Canadians apart from Americans is that we have guts,” she commented. “I met Donald Trump Jr. In the field of real estate banking I financed big building projects in the United States. Donald Jr. Asked for $200 million in financing and I had to turn him down. When I met him during auditions for The Apprentice I reminded him who I was.”
When a student asked Stephanie if she wins The Apprentice (everything but the finale has already been taped) she explained that each contestant must sign a $5 million non-disclosure agreement.
The taping schedule for The Apprentice was gruelling. “We basically worked from 3:30 a.m. to midnight six days a week,” she said. “We each had our own condo, with cooks and assistants and were not allowed contact with each other between recordings.
Stephanie concluded her presentation by bringing four members of the present-day VMC debate team on stage and recreated part of the audience process she went through, playing the role of Donald Trump. It was actually a debate, in which Trump asked a question and “fired” those whose answers he did not like. Stephanie took one of the questions she faced, which was “Do you need a business degree to succeed?”
Principal John Pevec and Vice-Principal Angela Vaudry gave Stephanie a tour of the school, showed her the portrait with her graduation photo and brought by some of her former teachers. A crew from Entertainment Tonight Canada was on hand to film her return.
Stephanie has been invited to come back October 24 as the guest speaker at the official graduation ceremony for the class of 2010.