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Celebrity chef and Food Network star Guy Fieri, who was in South Florida for this weekend’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, stopped by Carnival Cruise Lines’ headquarters in Miami earlier today. The purpose of his visit was to talk to kids who participate in an innovative Scholarship & Mentoring Program, which matches Miami-Dade County high school students with a member of Carnival’s management team to provide students with a first-hand look at the business world.

Fieri gave a rousing motivational speech, talking about his humble beginnings selling pretzels at age 10 and his road to becoming a successful chef and entrepreneur. Fieri’s many professional achievements include a partnership with Carnival to create the popular Guy’s Burger Joint currently aboard four of the line’s “Fun Ships” with additional shipboard venues planned for the future.  The free casual dining spots –part of the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 ship enhancement program – each serve up to 1,200 juicy mouth-watering burgers a day.

For the second straight year, Fieri is entering a Guy’s Burger Joint-inspired burger in the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Burger Bash.  Carnival is sponsoring the festival’s Fun & Fit As a Family event, providing face-painting, mini-golf and other fun activities for participants.

Now in its sixth year, Carnival’s Scholarship & Mentoring Program is operated in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters and includes an opportunity for students to apply for full four-year college scholarships purchased by Carnival through the Florida Pre-Paid Scholarship Program.  Thus far, Carnival has awarded 43 scholarships to graduating seniors and has purchased a total of 135 scholarships worth an estimated $1.5 million.