Share the Dream Banquet 2017

College Now/START students celebrated their achievements at the 49th annual Share the Dream banquet.

Share the Dream 2017

Students, families, faculty, staff, alumni, and special guests gathered on February 4, 2017 to honor and celebrate 99 incoming first-year students in completing the College Now/START Program.

Out of the 99 incoming first-year students, 34 finished the fall semester with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, earning the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Talent Merit Scholarship (see list below).

Etienne Niyonsaba at Share the Dream 2017
Senior speaker Etienne Niyonsaba ’17 shared the inspirational story of his life's journey so far.

Achievements at UMassD & beyond

First-year and guest speakers expressed their gratitude to the staff and faculty who work with the College Now/START Program.

College Now/START alumna Maritsa Barros '05 took attendees down memory lane when she shared her experience with the College Now/START Program and how it got her to where she is now. Her achievements since graduating from UMass Dartmouth reassured both first-year and upper-level students that hard work pays off—while also giving first-year students something more to look forward to.

There was a moment in the banquet when the audience fell silent and sat in compassion, as senior speaker Etienne Niyonsaba ’17 shared his journey through life.

Etienne touched members of the audience as he spoke about his life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Etienne explained his early troubles, with all the obstacles he and his family had to face before finally being able to come to the U.S. Once arriving in the U.S and settling in Worcester, Etienne decided he was going to turn his life around for the better. Etienne started at the university in the fall of 2012, when his English was still at a beginner level. However, with the help of his fellow colleagues and the College Now/START staff, he was able, once again, to overcome obstacles. In spring 2017, Etienne will be graduating with his bachelor's degree in accounting, with a GPA above 3.0.

First-year accomplishments

Members of the
 audience were also 
able to hear the ac
complishments of
 freshmen speakers
 Yovelys Alvarez Lara '20, Adam Gherbi '20, and Anna Ho '20, as they spoke about their paths to college and now their paths to success. What we were all able to gather from our freshman speakers is that they started off less fortunate than others, but somehow found a way to turn things around and succeed through their first semester of college—even when someone had told them that they could not. The members of the audience acknowledged both the speakers’ willingness to be successful during all four years at UMass Dartmouth, and that the College Now/START Program is a place where students have a second chance to become successful.

As first-year students received certificates for their completion of the program, College Now/START also honored 16 students in the program with Share the Dream Scholarships. These scholarships were awarded in recognition of the students' outstanding academic performance and for their representation of the College Now/START Program.

Share the Dream Scholarship recipients

Schneider Chery

Marquis Forbes

Neusa Gomes

Mercy Anna Hope-Sowah
Zaniab Hussein
Brian Martinez
Rashelle Noncent
Kestine Okoro
Gilbert Osei Marfo
Nicole Reynoso
Rafael Segura Matos
Kripa Thapa
Jessica Val
Aldina Vicente
Guilherme Vicente
Sean Walsh

Reflecting on the banquet, College Now director Craig Elkins said, "Thanks to commitment of the university’s stakeholders, generous donations, and the lasting legacy of College Now alumni, over 50 students received scholarships and grants in recognition of their hard work and academic performance. I want to thank all participants, donors, and attendees; without your contributions the program would not be what it is today."

At the end of the ceremony, members of the College Now/START freshmen class of 2017 were honored with certificates for successfully completing the program for the 2016-2017 academic year.

2017 first-year students

Deron Agyapong*
Linsay Alcindor
Ammar Alkhatatbih
Christine Alphonse*
Yovelys Alvarez Lara*
Lucas Amadio
Alexis Andrade
Daniel Silva Andrade*
Dalton Andujar
Darian Anziani
Brittany Araujo*
Isaac Asante
Franciel Baez*
Delpiero Beaumont*
Chalz Belceus
Jerome Boateng
Carlange Borgelorme*
Tiana Brooks
Lory Cadeau*
Raymond Carela*
Danae Carridice*
Marcia Carvalho*
Schneider Chery
Isaiah Christian
Lidia Clotter
Elvis DaSilva
Amber Dawson*
Marah Delphonse
Andrew Depin
Brigitte Dessius
Aaron Dowell*
Michael DuBose-Williams
Anaisha Eliassaint*
Jakob Ellis
Makhi Ellison-Miles
Riche Love Emmanuel
Aderonke Fadiya*
Jared Farley
Fernandes Felix
Jessica Fitzsimmons*
Marquis Forbes
Ashley Francis
Kewayne Francis
Christopher Gardner
Adam Gherbi*
Dominic Glennon
Helica Goncalves*
Tikaya Goodridge
Claire Gorguette
Latisha Guerrero Dejesus
Helina Gurmessa*
Alexis Heald
Terry-Ann Hibbert
Anna Ho*
Corrin Jackson
Anne Jean
Jina Johnson*
Frantzcia Joseph
Vivian Kimani
Valorie Leo
Alexsandro Lopes
Edmilson Lopes*
Vidalia Lopez
Luis Marcano
Gianni Martin
Brian Martinez
Sherly Mathurin*
Elvis Mendes
Trina Moals-Ruffin
Kadija Mohamud
Gennissey Morello*
Courtnee Nagim-Chase*
Tegla Nelson
Rachel Nere
Judy Nguyen
Jurvet Nkeng-Leke
Nnamdi Obilo*
Ifunanya Ofonagoro
Gilbert Osei Marfo
Georgios Papoulis
Irieana Parris*
Sebastien Paul*
Randy Pereira
Ashley Pires Macedo
Joaquim Pires
Kevin Quintero Gomez
Nicole Reynoso
Erickson Rodrigues*
Janelle Rodrigues*
Gabriela Rodrigues Pires
Casey Rutledge
Marlina Scott*
Wilbert Seoane
Hailey Silva
Aaron Taylor*
Alina Teixeira
Heliane Lopes Vieira
Brandell Warren-Anderson*

* Talent Merit Scholarship recipient

An earlier version of this story, written by Rashelle Noncent, ran in the Spring 2017 College Now Newsletter.

More information

Student Spotlight: Etienne Niyonsaba '17


College Now