Student of the week: Maria Castrillo

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Maria Castrillo, a 9-year-old fourth grade student from Mt Laurel Elementary, is Shelby County Reporter Student of the Week.

She is originally from Venezuela and was selected for the honor by Mt Laurel Vice Principal Haley Watts.

Tonya Patterson, Maria&8217;s fourth grade teacher, said, &8220;Maria is an absolute delight to have in the classroom. Her enthusiasm is refreshing and encouraging. Despite many obstacles she faces, she remains positive and energetic. She excels academically as well as socially.

&8220;Throughout the year she has become a role-model to many of her peers. Her positive outlook, hard work and dependability easily influence those around her. Maria&8217;s capabilities are limitless, and I&8217;m confident she will do well in the future.&8221;

Maria is the daughter of Manuel and Pastora Castrillo. She has one sister, Andrea Castrillo, 12, and two brothers, Victor Olivo, 21, and Manuel Olivo, 18.

Maria said her favorite subject in school is science, &8220;Because sometimes we get to do projects, and I like learning about things I can do at home and see.&8221; She said she likes doing experiments.

Maria said Patterson is her favorite teacher, &8220;Because she doesn&8217;t give us a lot of homework and she is not that harsh on us. I think she&8217;s really nice.&8221;

While Maria has been in the United States six years, she is in her first year at Mt Laurel. She said has been selected Student of the Month there and previously at another school she was recognized for helping in her neighborhood.

Maria said she also helps children in need through her church Prince of Peace. She said she likes American football and softball, riding her bicycle and doodling.

Maria said her dad is her favorite superhero. A diabetic, Maria said, &8220;I don&8217;t know how to inject myself and he&8217;s always there to inject me.&8221; She also said, &8220;He plays more than my mom.&8221;

Maria said when she grows up she wants to attend college and to become a diabetic nutritionist. She explained that&8217;s because she is diabetic and, &8220;Because I already know how to balance my food… I believe I could help children.&8221;