I want to fill everyone into a day in a life of “Maria” trying to pursue a dream job in the music industry, while still going to school full-time. When I was in the fifth grade, a classmate of mine brought in a CD of a band I have never heard of. I was in my Spice Girls/Britney Spears age (hence why I have an ear for pop). This album cover was red with a figure on it.

It was music/art themed lesson in class that day so a couple of us brought CDs in. We had to talk about how the music made us feel and what we thought was interesting about the songs. That was the day I was introduced to the now Grammy award winning band, Maroon 5.

Flash forward to last Saturday night – I was standing in a sold out crowd in Madison Square Garden watching my first live performance of Maroon 5. They played their first single that came off that album that was played in my fifth grade class. The backdrop changed to the album cover and the memory of that day came to mind. It was incredible to be in a highly recognized venue for such a great artist and even more amazing to have the dots come together, as I look back to my younger years. I was hired by the marketing company I’ve worked for since senior year, through the two opening acts, Owl City and Neon Trees, to work the show. (Free concert and I get paid?! This is still a surreal thing for me as a music fan). Three other girls were hired alongside me and we kicked some butt out there!

– Maria Gracia

Personally for me, without the Dare 2 Be Great Scholarship helping fund my education at the University of Florida, I would’ve most likely had to have taken out a loan for help. Now more than ever college students are taking out many loans and living in debt due to this economic recession. I am lucky and fortunate to have a scholarship program such as this which cares so heavily about its scholars. The mentoring program is valuable. It gave me a responsible adult other than my parents that are there to help me with the most exciting time of my life. For me as a criminology major it is very helpful to have Lt. Coleman as a mentor due to the fact he is an officer for Delray Police Department.

Joseph J. Elisma

I am on my second year here at SCAD in Savannah, GA. Art school was a monumental decision I made in my life and everyday of it I am living my dream and not regretting a single moment that got me here. Dare 2 Be Great made this a realty for me. I’ve done a couple internships since coming to SCAD. I even assisted on a commercial photo shoot for Frye Boots. I’ve taken classes that have enhanced my portfolio and prepared me for job opportunities that are around the corner for me. I’ve gotten my business license since entering college and I proudly represented The Cultural Arts Center in a promotional video over the break. I always said with all my successes and future endeavors I would be the artist that made a point to reflect on where I came from. So to represent Delray Beach’s art program as a success story and a product of their support was a privilege I am grateful for. I’m looking forward to doing more with my art and the city when I return over the summer. Until then stay tuned!

Stephanie V B.

Please come back soon for more testimonials from our scholars, their parents/guardians, their families, mentors, former teachers, and others who have something to say about Dare 2 Be Great!

More Testimonials to Come!