Two Outstanding Women


In honor of International Women’s Day, we want to recognize two amazing women that joined our Estelar family this year. In January, Karen Benjamin and Marikay Crangle came to Estelar to study Spanish, sightsee, and experience Costa Rican culture. Both of these women blew us away with their compassion, good humor, and drive to learn Spanish. They immediately befriended our staff and brought a positive light to the classroom each morning.

Karen Benjamin, from Ithaca, New York, is a middle school Spanish teacher who came to us to improve her Spanish and to learn about our use of TPRS (Total Physical Response Storytelling) in the classroom. During her time with us, she completed the second level of our advanced program and made many friends by spending her time out and about in Liberia and participating in our extracurricular activities. Her teacher, Sonia, says “Karen is a student that is very passionate for the language. She is always friendly and actively participating in the class activities. I really enjoyed being her teacher!”
Karen plans to return in May to visit and we are so excited to see her again!!

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Karen and her classmate Sharai proudly show their certificates for completing a Spanish course.

Marikay Crangle, from Arlington, Virginia, is retired and looking to experience new things! She came to us as a beginner Spanish speaker and she began by learning basic vocabulary. Although she had planned to study for three weeks, she extended her time with us by one week and advanced three levels with ease. By the end of her stay she was speaking in complete sentences and conversing in Spanish with her new friends at the Institute. She studied hard, learned quickly, and put her all into each class. Rosa, her primary teacher, describes Marikay as charming, funny, intelligent, and very dedicated in her studies. Rosa says, “She always did her homework, worked hard in class, and managed to attend all of the extracurricular activities that allowed her to practice her Spanish. Excellent student!!”

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Marikay with her profesora, Rosa.

These two women were such a pleasure to have in our school. We salute them for their eagerness to learn, their constant joy, and their courage. It can be intimidating for a woman to travel into a foreign country alone, but these two women don’t let anything stop them from achieving their goals! They are the definition of strong, independent women, and we wanted to acknowledge them on this special day. 

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