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Student Scholars

 Please meet our 2014 Leadership Scholars

James Christie

My name is James Christie but I prefer Jamie. I am a 14 year old ninth grade student attending Lakewood High School. I have two siblings, a sister and step-brother along with my mom, dad and stepdad all who I love very much. I also have a Great Dane and three cats. I love any type of art but my passion is music. I spend many hours playing the guitar, an instrument that I took up recently. My favorite artists to emulate are Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. I also play the piano, the ukulele and for the school band, I play the trumpet. In my free time I enjoy writing music, hanging out with friends, longboarding, camping, and traveling. I love new experiences and most recently during a trip to San Diego, I learned to surf. My favorite class is World History.

I enjoy learning about different countries, world cultures and traditions. I am also interested the cyclical nature of history, and believe that if we can recognize recurrent patterns of history, we can avoid repeating devastating mistakes. Second to history is Astronomy, an area that keeps me curious. Some of my extracurricular activities include football, baseball and band. I just finished my first season of freshman football as team captain and by the end of my season, was offered the opportunity to dress for varsity and junior varsity games. In addition to feeling privileged just to play with these teams, I felt honored when I received the Sportsmanship Award. As for baseball, I’ve been playing since third grade and look forward to tryouts at the high school.

As a Dare2Care member I wish to challenge my peers to be more accepting, and encourage them to be themselves.


Albert Foster

My name is Albert Foster and I am 14 years old. I attend Lakewood High School as a freshman. I play the tuba in the concert band as well as sing in the ninth grade boys choir at LHS. I have been in advanced English since sixth grade and I am in my second year of Spanish. I am looking forward to being in the LHS marching band, on the LHS track team, and taking advanced bio all in the next year.

After school I enjoy going to some of LHS’ many great clubs. Like Club Identity, The Dead Tree Society, and H2O- Help to Others youth volunteering program. Through H2O I have donated over 50 service hours from just this school year and have been awarded the Jane Michalko peace award.

I am so excited for the next three years that I’ll spend developing the skills I will use the rest of my life as an advocate.


Anna Kotansky

My name is Anna Kotansky and I am 15 years old, ninth grader at Lakewood High School. I live with my parents and younger sister. I am a very happy, positive, bubbly person who likes to give everything a try. In my free time I love to hang out with family and friends, listen to music, and have fun. I love playing my oboe and becoming as good as a musician I can possibly be. I never back down from a challenge and always put 110% in everything I do.

In school I maintain a GPA over 4.0, taking AP US History and in Advance English. I am a member of the Jr. National Honor Society and this year I have made Honor Role both quarters. I hope to volunteer more with H2O and give back to my community. I have many goals for myself in the future like keeping my GPA over 4.0, join more clubs at school, and attending college. Being accepted to the Dare2Care/GYLI program has been a huge accomplishment for me. It will strength my confidence and leadership skills. I am so excited to work with the other members and make a change at my school, and hopefully the world, by showing everything that everyone is equal.

I am so thankful to be a part of this organization and looking forward to show everyone what I am capable of doing and being.


Arzugyul Suleymanova

My name is Arzugyul Suleymanova, but I go by Arzu. I am a 14 year old freshman at Lakewood High School. I play the violin and for the schools string orchestra and am planning on taking lessons and going up to higher level groups. I speak three languages; Turkish, Russian and English. I’m working on getting Spanish to be my fourth. I take adv. science and adv. geometry, which happen to be my favorite classes. Being from Russia and coming to the U.S has given me experience on what it feels like to be the “odd” one out. I remember being the weird foreign girl that no one wanted to talk to. I want no one to feel anything close to that. I hope to encourage people to be accepting and respecting.

I am honored to be chosen to be a part of the Dare2care program and I can’t wait to get started. 🙂


Please meet our 2012 Leadership Scholars

Devon Chodzin

My name is Devon Chodzin. I am 17 years old and I attend Lakewood High School. For the past two years, I have proudly worked with Dare2Care and the first set of scholars and advisers. Together, we’ve established Club Identity, a non-traditional GSA, which has a growing presence in our school. Working with Dare2Care has been a blessing form the get-go and I can’t wait to see what’s in our future together.

Outside of Dare2Care, I like to spend my time playing double bass in my school’s orchestra. I play in the Chamber Orchestra and the Lakewood Project, which is a rock orchestra. I compete with the Model UN team and have served 200 hours of community service with H2O. I’m enrolled in a few AP courses that occupy much of my time outside of school. I really enjoy keeping myself busy, no matter how tired I wind up when the weekend comes.
I cannot begin to say how excited I am about working with the new class of Dare2Care scholars. We’re not getting any younger, and it’s time some news eyes offered their perspective into our project while us old scholars try to come up with a special way to leave at the end of our time 🙂


Ann Marie Elaban

My name is Ann Marie Elaban, I am fourteen years old. I attend Lakewood High School and I am in the ninth grade. I play cello in two orchestras during the school day and I am a member of the Lakewood High School rock orchestra. Next year I am looking forward to being a part of the Lakewood High School Marching Band as a Rangerette. I am very excited to become a part of the Dare2Care organization. This is an amazing opportunity that I am very grateful to have received. I hope to develop my ideas with the other freshman chosen and to continue the ideas of this organization in my school.



Sarah Linda Matthiesen

My full name is Sarah Linda Matthiesen and I am 15 years old. I have a very happy disposition and, when I’m not making funny faces at my friends, am always smiling. However, I do like to have a good argument every now and again. Much of my free time is spent reading, hanging out with my friends, or making some crazy art project. I, also, spend a great amount of time outdoors. I love pretty much all genres of music, but I don’t have a favorite color: I find there are too many pretty ones to choose from.

At the moment, I attend Lakewood High School as a ninth grader. I ran Cross Country and participated in Model U. N during the fall and earned a varsity letter in Diving during the winter. I play Baritone Saxophone in Concert Band and was recently given the award for Best Musicianship. I have been in advanced classes since third grade and have always been one of the top students in any of my classes. My favorite class is either A.P. U.S. History, because of the intellectual challenges it provides, or one of my language classes. I take both Spanish and Latin and scored 100% on each midterm. Also, I scored 35 out of 40 on the National Latin Exam.




Dare2Care 2012 Scholarship Recipients in New Mexico Summer 2013