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Campus News

December 4th, 2023

Crellin contingent cheer on Lady Lakers

Perez de Castro had visited school to discuss Spanish culture


Garrett College women’s basketball player Manuela Perez de Castro signs an autograph during last Thursday’s Crellin Elementary School Night at the Lady Lakers’ game against Northern Virginia Community College. Perez de Castro is one of two GC international student athletes from Spain who visited Crellin Elementary earlier this fall.

Manuela Perez de Castro and the Garrett College women’s basketball team had a very special cheering section in place during last Thursday’s game against visiting Northern Virginia Community College.

A large, energetic group of approximately 50 Crellin Elementary School students, parents, and administrators were on hand to lend their support. "Crellin Night" at Laker Court was an offshoot of a visit to Crellin Elementary by Perez de Castro and women’s soccer goalie Sara Tabuena – both international students from Spain – earlier this fall as part of an ongoing diversity project jointly sponsored by Garrett College and Garrett County Public Schools.

"That was awesome. It felt like that was one of the biggest crowds that we’ve had in a long time," said GC head coach JT Lewis.

Vianne Bell – who started the diversity project several years ago when she was chair of the Garrett College Board of Trustees – said Perez de Castro and Tabuena made a great impression on the students during their Crellin visit.

"They enjoyed the discussion with Manuela and Sara about Spain," said Bell, noting Spanish holiday traditions were of particular interest to the students. "They were most impressed when they learned that not only did Santa deliver gifts to them on Christmas, but the Three Wise Men also delivered gifts to the children during the first week in January."

Bell said Perez de Castro and Tabuena’s presentation to first-through-fifth-graders covered a number of other topics of interest to the students.

"They passed out euros to the children for them to see their currency," said Bell. "In a couple of classes, they [the students] asked how much the euro would buy in the United States. I thought it was interesting that children asked about the exchange rate."

A trio of Crellin students talked about how much they enjoyed the experience.

"I really liked how they support each other. I learned so much about their country and basketball and soccer," said Joshlyn Paugh. "They both helped each other out and I liked learning about their foods" added Brynlee Canan. "They both were so nice," said Emma Cooper. "I loved seeing Manuela at the basketball game and cheering for her." Perez de Castro said she had as much fun as the students during the Crellin visit.

"All the kids were really interested in learning about Spain," she said. "I loved all of the good vibes that were given to us and how they received us."

The Crellin contingent – loud and enthusiastic throughout the game – enjoyed a pizza dinner as well as a Lady Laker victory against Northern Virginia.

"They were really rooting for us," said Perez de Castro. "They were so happy. I think they really enjoyed the game."

Perez de Castro said her connection with the Crellin students, parents, and faculty was just the latest positive experience she’s enjoyed this fall at GC.

I’ve had a great time here," she said. "People in Garrett County are really nice and they are really genuine people. I’ve been learning a lot."

Bell said the Crellin students’ connection with both Perez de Castro and Tabuena looks to be an ongoing relationship.

"After discovering that Sara and Manuela have not been around much snow, the children of Crellin asked both Sara and Manuela to come back to their school and go sledding with them," said Bell. "From what I observed, that will be a fun and wonderful day for all of them."