NADO INSIDER Highlighting BC's Student-Athletes' Success Beyond the Field

Omar El Diraoui

“The Beast from the Middle East”

Former Brevard College Men’s Basketball Forward, Omar El Diraoui wrapped up his collegiate career a few weeks ago upon graduation. However, Omar plans to return to the hardwood, taking his talents to the Palestine National Team and pursue a dream as a professional basketball player.

Originally from Beirut, Lebanon, Omar came to the United States when he was ten years old to live in Texas. He spent his freshman year of college playing at John Wood Community College in Illinois before transferring to Malcolm X College his sophomore year. Omar made his way to Brevard for his final two years of school and made an impact both on and off the court at Brevard College.

During his first season with the Tornados, Omar appeared in all 28 games with 10 starts, shooting a team-best 78.9 percent from the free-throw line. This season, he started all but one game, averaging 7.8 points per game. The 6-7 forward finished 10th in the conference in blocked shots, averaging one per game for a total of 28. Omar’s favorite memory was playing against Division I schools and experiencing the atmosphere they brought. His favorite being playing against Auburn in an exhibition game to kick off the 2015-16 season.

Omar was not just a beast on the court, but in the classroom as well. He graduated with a GPA of 3.34 and a Bachelor's degree in Business and a minor in Math. Omar was a member of ODK, a National Leadership Society, as well as being involved in several clubs around campus, including the Mathematics Club, Dimensions, and the International Club. Omar was also Vice-President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He completed his internship with Transylvania County as a planning intern. His projects included working on the 2025 Plan to make the community better as well as the Watch for Me N.C., assisting with a communications draft.

The Lebanon native said the beautiful mountains of Western Carolina reminded him of his home country. Omar not only fell in love with Brevard College during his two years, but also came to love the town, the nature, the people, and the community.

After graduation, Omar moved to Texas to train for a career as a professional basketball player. Omar has signed with a FIBA agent, of the International Basketball Association to begin a professional basketball career in the Middle East/Asia region.

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Strong, ambitious, hard working, creative, determined, tenacious are all words that describe this spotlight Tornado. Her passion for Brevard College or her "Home away from Home' has been shown through her efforts on and off the court.

Originating from Kannapolis, North Carolina, Savannah has made her mark in Brevard as a Tornado. She has been an impact player all four years for the women's volleyball team. Her freshman year, she started all but three sets. Her sophomore and junior season, Savannah played in all 29 matches. She moved into 10th on Brevard's NCAA-era career list with eight kills vs. Wingate in the SAC Championship Nov. 20, 2015, giving her 433 in her career. Her senior year, she broke the school record with 188 blocks and 697 kills which was 3rd all time. Her impressive performance on the court is matched by her achievement in the classroom. Savannah exemplifies what it takes to be an exceptional student- athlete.

Savannah is a psychology major that aspires to pursue a career in coaching, grief counseling, or social work. Prior to graduation she hopes to become a volleyball graduate assistant while earning a master's degree in social work and counseling. She has been exceedingly involved with clubs, committees, and programs during her time at Brevard College. This year alone she has received prestigious awards from Alpha Chi, ODK, and Psy Chi Honor Society. Her honors also include: Outstanding Student of Psychology, recipient of the Who's Who Award and Senior Student Leadership Award.

Savannah is a member of IWIL (Institute for Women in Leadership). A program that has assisted her development as a confident, passionate, well- rounded, and service - oriented leader. In her first two years, Savannah mentored 6th grade girls, volunteered to assist the homeless in Atlanta, Ga, built a wheelchair ramp, and also helped in raising awareness for suicide prevention. Savannah is now in charge of marketing the program as well as supporting new members.

You can often find Savannah behind a camera lens at athletic matches. She assists in capturing many of the important events happening all over the community for the communications department. The photos taken by Savannah are used in many of the Brevard College Athletic's press releases. Photography also led to her most rewarding experience as a student, Dear Brevard.

"Dear Brevard was my final project for my photography class. We had free reign as to what type of subjects or concepts we wanted to shoot." said Cox. "The purpose of my project was to give the students and staff of Brevard the chance to share their story or a message they want to send to the world, through words and a photo."


Dear Brevard Project. Photos courtesy of Savannah Cox

"Savannah is a perfect example of what we hope to see in every student," says Elizabeth Harrison, director of communications and media relations at BC. "She truly embodies the BC mission, shows commitment in her classes and work-study responsibilities, and she is incredibly compassionate. Savannah is also one of the most determined and tenacious people I've ever met."

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ALEX PERRI: English major, soccer player, cyclist, writer, explorer, musician, extraordinary student-athlete.

The commitment and outstanding work of Alex Perri in creating a digital content strategy for Brevard College for her senior project makes her a spotlight Tornado.

What makes Perri an outstanding student-athlete is her hard work to benefit Brevard College.

"My senior project is working with the Office of Communications to develop a digital content strategy for Brevard College," said Perri. "The best definition I have found for that is figuring out a way to standardize and optimize the digital content for all of the departments at the college and ways to create and publish it. The project involves coordinating with different administration staff members and also educating myself about the world of digital content."

She is in process of creating style guidelines, such as brand message, style, tone, and visual standards in order to take a standardized approach to communications.

The use of a digital content strategy created by Perri will be an extremely useful marketing tool for all departments of Brevard College.

Prior to attending BC, Alex graduated from Gulf Coast High School in Naples, Florida. She is an English major with an emphasis in journalism and a minor in Spanish. Alex is a writer for the school newspaper, The Clarion. She is also a four-year letter winner for the women's soccer team. Alex competed as a defender, giving strength to the Tornados' back line. Having a blast at practice is her favorite experience as an athlete. Perri has recently taken an interest in road cycling as well as mountain biking. This will be her first season riding for BC Cycling team.

Her most rewarding experience as a student was her trip abroad to Costa Rica her sophomore year with the Spanish department. She spent three months living in a home stay with Costa Rican host parents in San Jose. She spent her weekdays studying Spanish at the Costa Rican Language Academy, and the weekends traveling around the country and nearby Panama. Her adventures included zip lining, rafting, cliff jumping, and exploring volcanoes and rain forests.

She also got to soak in geothermal hot springs at a resort and see sloths and monkeys at Manuel Antonio National park.

Upon graduation, Perri aspires to join the Peace Corps, travel, and become a journalist for a newspaper. She is most thankful for her team and the friendships she has made in her time with the Tornados.

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