BY ANN SIOCK
The University of Notre Dame leprechaun that has roused crowds and cheered on the school’s athletes since 1965 will have a Northeast Pennsylvanian flare this season.
Gabe Ramos, an anthropology and pre-health major from Covington Twp., was one of four students selected to portray the leprechaun at Fighting Irish events this year.
“Being selected as the Notre Dame leprechaun has to be one of the most incomparable feelings I’ve ever had,” Ramos said. “It really feels like I have been given really the greatest gift in the world.”
For Ramos, a 2018 North Pocono High School graduate, these sentiments are rooted in the blend of NEPA culture Ramos group up with and the inspiration he finds in his own family’s immigrant story.
“My family’s story is not very different from the story of Irish immigrants,” he said. “It’s really just a matter of timing, so what it comes down to is that people came and they were able to be successful because of a grit that they had, a certain perseverance and a passion to continue to fight — and be susceptible to failure.”
Ramos faced stiff competition to get the role, but he is grateful for the opportunity to represent both his hometown and college through the iconic image.
“(It) is a really beautiful synthesis of where I grew up in Scranton and where I ended up,” Ramos said. “It took me moving 700 miles and to an entirely different landscape to finally find myself rooted in the people of my hometown.”