November 12th, 2018
GC's Berady, GCPS students all enjoy diversity activity
Moroccan international student bonds with kids at Crellin, Yough Glades
The diversity partnership between Garrett College and Garrett County Public Schools was created to provide GCPS elementary school students with exposure to different cultures. The good time enjoyed by GC international student Yassine Berady was just a happy by-product of the experience.
Garrett College's international students are continuing their work in a joint GC-Garrett County Public Schools initiative to shine a light on global diversity. GC sophomore Yassine Berady, in black sweat top, recently visited Crellin and Yough Glades elementary schools are part of the project. Also pictured in the back row, left to right, are GC Board of Trustees Member Vianne Bell, and Crellin 5th-grade teacher Brittany German. Front row, left to right, are Crellin students Jacob Graham, Laurel DeGiovanni, and Ava Hunt.
"I had such a great time!" said Berady, a Moroccan student who recently visited classes at Crellin and Yough Glades elementary schools. "The kids were wonderful – very accepting and very welcoming."
"Yassine was so natural and so relaxed with the kids," said School Counselor Tim Watson, who coordinates the diversity program from the GCPS end.
"Yassine was great and the students asked very good questions," said Vianne Bell, a member of the Garrett College Board of Trustees who has been instrumental in development of the project.
Berady said the students were very interested in Moroccan traditions.
"I didn't expect third-graders to ask the type of questions they asked," said Berady, who indicated the students were both inquisitive and engaged. "They were mostly interested in holidays – what was the same; what was different? I told them how we kind of have our own version of Christmas and other holidays."
Berady said he started his presentation with a map that showed Morocco's location.
"I think they were intrigued about how it could be so far from here," Berady recalled. "The different trees, the weather, the animals . . . they were all very interested."
The 20-year-old Berady said he discovered Garrett College while trying to find a postsecondary institution that was close to Alexandria, Va., where his uncle lives.
"I didn't want to be too far from Alexandria," he explained. "I looked into Montgomery College and Allegany College of Maryland and got into both of those, but Garrett was one of the few colleges that had dormitories on campus. I felt safer having a guaranteed place to stay rather than renting on my own."
Yassine Berady, GC international student in black sweat top, is pictured during a recent presentation at Yough Glades Elementary School. GC Board of Trustees Member Vianne Bell and Yough Glades teacher Mrs. Shreve are on Berady's left and right, respectively. Students, left to right in the front row, are Abby George, Braydon DeWitt, and Chandler Judy.
Berady, who graduates next month, stayed in Garrett County over the summer, working in GC's admissions, advising and residence life offices.
"Yassine is a great representation of a Garrett College student who has embraced the campus life in all aspects," said GC Admissions Coordinator Melissa Wass.
"As a student ambassador, Yassine has been able to bring a diverse perspective when speaking to prospective students. He takes advantage of every opportunity that has been given to him to excel as a college student, while also giving back and providing that role model to the new students following in his footsteps," continued Wass, adding, "We will definitely miss him as a student ambassador when he graduates in December."
Wass has coordinated the diversity program from the college's end since it started in 2017.
"It has been my pleasure to assist in organizing the International Diversity Program," she said. "It has been such an awarding experience to hear from the international students following their participation in the program. The international students start the day thinking that they are doing this for the elementary students. At the end of the day, they realize that they take away so much more than they thought they would."
Berady has already been accepted to West Virginia University, but hasn't decided if he will attend WVU or go home for the spring semester before returning to go to a four-year institution next fall.
"Visiting the elementary schools was a great experience for me," said Berady, who would like to major in actuarial sciences. "Some of the kids asked me to come back – I hope I can do it. I would really love that."