June 17, 2019 4:13 pm
Updated: June 17, 2019 5:53 pm

‘It’s still surreal’: Oprah visits Montreal school

WATCH: Oprah Winfrey is a woman of her word. On Sunday night, the celebrity talk-show host promised a Pierrefonds school teacher she would visit her students. As Global's Brittany Henriques explains, Winfrey arrived at Collège Beaubois on Monday morning, ready to greet the crowd.


It was a dream come true Monday for students and staff at Pierrefonds’ Collège Beaubois: Oprah Winfrey dropped by for a visit.

It all came about thanks to the school’s English teacher, Valérie Kamel.

The 20-year teaching veteran, who is a huge Oprah fan, began incorporating the famed host and producer’s teachings into her curriculum.

WATCH: Oprah visits a Montreal school.

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“We can all connect to what she has to say,” Kamel explained, adding that embodying Oprah’s sense of how everybody matters changed the way she taught.

“You come into my classroom, I don’t know the baggage that you have, I don’t know what happens at home. All I know is that you are with me and you matter. What you say matters.”

“The time you give me, I will take it and I will make the best of it and make sure you feel happy.”

When Kamel learned that Oprah was coming to Montreal for a book tour, she said she was determined to meet her.

“I wanted to meet her, maybe go back stage, shake her hand, ask her a question and take a picture,” she said.

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The next step was to make it happen. After some brainstorming with her husband, “Oprahtunity” was born — but that’s all she had, the title of a video.

“I don’t know how to make a video,” she said.

That’s when her students stepped in, pooling their tech skills and social media know-how to produce a video that caught Oprah’s attention.

Kamel headed to Sunday’s show unaware that her wildest dreams were about to come true.

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Not only did she meet Oprah, but she was called onto the stage and was told the megastar would be visiting her school.

“I could not fathom or wrap my mind around it,” she said. “I didn’t sleep. I slept like maybe 30 minutes and it was surreal — it’s still surreal.”

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At Monday’s school meeting, Oprah shared her admiration for teachers.

“I love teachers,” she said. “In my opinion, there is no higher calling, there is no greater good you can do in the world than to share your spirit, your knowledge, your energy and your life force.”

She also took the time to speak to students and offer some life advice.

“She spoke about mental health and she talked about how to lead with humanity,” Kamel said. “That’s going to be my tagline. I’m going to make a mug with that for my kids.”

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As for what Kamel hopes her students will take away from Monday’s unforgettable visit? Reach for the stars.

“They can make their dreams come true regardless of what obstacles people put in your way,” she said.

“[If] your intention, is good, you can make it happen. [If] your intention is pure, you can make it happen.”

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