Dared & There! – The Students

daredthereThe Dare 2 Be Great foundation is on a journey with a mission to find, identify, mentor and help fund the college educations of students who we believe are poised to make a difference in our community.

To date, we have 12 Dare 2 Be Great Scholars attending a variety of universities in Florida and beyond.

It’s an ethnically diverse group, beautifully illustrating Delray’s mosaic of cultures.

All of the students overcame major obstacles and latched onto something in the community that spoke to their aspirations. Whether it was a career academy, a photography class at Old School Square, or activities at the tennis center, they all found something that sparked their imagination and stirred their souls. But just as importantly, they worked hard to take advantage of the opportunities given them. We could not be more proud to promote these young adults to you.

Nathaniel Ellis – 2013 recipient


  • Nathaniel graduated in 2013 from the Dryfoos School of the Arts.
  • His passion and hobby is vocal and music performances.
  • He enjoyed his time spent at the Delray Beach Youth Council and was proud that he was appointed to the Delray Beach Education Board.
  • He also worked closely with the non-profit group “Think Pink for Breast Cancer”.
  • Nathaniel is currently attending Florida International University.

Kristin Carstarphen – 2013 recipient

  • Kristin graduated from Atlantic High School.
  • She was the varsity cheerleading Coach.
  • She graduated with high honors.
  • She is currently attending The University of Central Florida and wishes to obtain a degree in Biology.

Madison Aracri – 2013 recipient


  • Madison graduated from Atlantic Community High school in 2013.
  • She was an Eaglette and her personal outstanding accomplishment was her appointment to the City of Delray Beach Education Board which she served for two years.
  • She was recognized by the Presidents Education Awards Program for her outstanding academic achievements.
  • Madison is currently attending the Rosen School of Hospitality in Orlando, Florida.
  • She hopes to return some day to Delray Beach using her hospitability degree at one of the local establishments.

Ian Mellul – 2012 recipient


  • Ian is a graduate from Boca High School Stem program and graduated in the top 5% of his class.
  • He will be attending George Washington University
  • He has a strong passion for Politics and running for office
  • He was elected by his peers in High School as the Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior President of the Student Council and elected by more than 2,000 students in the State of Florida to become the President of the Florida Association of Student Councils
  • Ian is also an accomplished Magician and his motto is “learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow….!

Kristen Dagata – 2012 recipient


  • Kristen is a graduate of Atlantic Community High School from the International Baccalaureate program
  • She will be attending the University of Florida to pursue a career in Advertising.
  • She has a passion for music and has become an accomplished musician Kristen’s would like to: “pass along her music passion to other students in the community so that they might gain a similar strength to reach for higher goals in life”.

Maria Gracia – 2011 recipient


  • Atlantic High School graduate – International Baccalaureate program
  • Attending Drexel University
  • Strong passion for music – would like to major in Public Relations with a minor in the music industry.
  • She has been involved with helping a Nashville band progress from a local hometown band into a national act. Maria co-owns their fan website and is busy building an online community. She is already an entrepreneur.
  • Strong family values – Maria’s father came to this country not knowing any English and worked his way up to become an executive chef. She admires his tenacity and has used her dad as an inspiration.

Nicole Dagata – 2011 recipient


  • Atlantic High School graduate – International Baccalaureate Program
  • Attending University of Florida
  • Strong passion for the era of the Fifties and loves Ella Fitzgerald.
  • She enjoys literature and is a published poet. A quote in her essay: “Life as a poet gives you license to see the world differently and the desire to settle for nothing less.”
  • Nicole wishes to pursue a career in International Relations in the Middle East.

Jacqueline Lowell – 2011 recipient


  • Atlantic High School graduate – International Baccalaureate Program
  • Attending University of Florida
  • She has an interest in Japanese culture and pursued her passion by joining the Sister Cites program, selected to represent the City of Delray Beach in Japan. She also took the City’s Student Academy program that was offered at the 505 Teen Center.
  • In her interview, she stated that a presentation made by one of the fathers in elementary school made a huge impression. He was a doctor that corrected cleft palates in a third-world country and she knew at that time she wanted to pursue a career in which she could give back to society. She continued this passion by volunteering her time at Bethesda Hospital.
  • Jacqueline wishes to major in International Relations with a concentration in Medicine.

Joseph Elisma – 2011 recipient


  • Atlantic High School graduate – International Baccalaureate Program
  • Attending University of Florida
  • Joseph wrote in his application that, “I am an intellectual young man, who interacts well with others, always achieves the goals set for myself, and dedicate my time in a calculated manner to stay involved in the community and school.”
  • The hardest thing in his life was when he left Haiti at seven years old and had to say goodbye to his beloved mother, who stayed in Haiti.
  • Joseph graduated from Atlantic High School in the Criminal Justice Program, which is a collaborative partnership with the City of Delray Beach. He became the first male captain in the 10-year history of the Academy and also led the school’s Honor Guard.
  • He wishes to pursue a career in Criminal Justice with a minor in Public Administration and hopes to come back to Palm Beach County to work as an FBI agent.

Shekinah Fashaw – 2011 recipient ShikinahFashaw

  • Atlantic High School graduate – International Baccalaureate Program
  • Attending University of Florida
  • Shekinah was elected as the 2010/2011 Student Body President. When asked why she thought she was elected to the position, she stated it is because she will do jobs that others will not. An example was picking up trash in the auditorium prior to their annual Talent Show to make sure that the facility looked good for the public. She likes to lead by example.
  • She is a very well-grounded young lady with strong family values.
  • She wishes to study Biotechnology and/or Genetics.

Cody Jackson – 2011 recipient


  • Spanish River High School graduate
  • Attending University of Florida
  • The Science Department Chair and Biotechnology Coordinator writes in his recommendation that, “Cody is one of the most dedicated students I have ever had in 19 years of teaching. Cody is bright, energetic, compassionate, and genuinely well-rounded.”
  • He wishes to study Microbiology/Biochemistry to find the gene that someday will cure Lupus and is determined to develop treatments for other diseases.
  • To pursue his passion for immunology, he drives to Port St. Lucie twice a week to work in the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida.

Stephanie Brown – 2011 recipient


  • Atlantic High School graduate – International Baccalaureate Program
  • Attending SCAD – Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Stephanie writes in her essay that that, “I am the last of five Jamaican children and all my mother ever wanted was at least two doctors and three nurses. Through many failed attempts in persuasion, she ended up with an interior designer, a media specialist with his own business, an electrical engineer, a communications major with a DJ company, and me….the photographer.”
  • She loves to see how the world looks through a camera’s lens and took a photography class at Old School Square that inspired her.
  • She wishes to pursue her dreams to become a documentary photographer and feels images can change the world.