Ralph Daseme is a 2017 graduate of Evans High School • A Community Partnership School. As a senior at Evans, he participated in the LEADS (Leadership for Educational Attainment Developed through Service) service-learning program offered at the school by UCF’s Center for Community Partnerships. Because of his academic achievement and community involvement, UCF Student Development and Enrollment Services offered Daseme a full scholarship to attend UCF. Daseme sat down with Jarrad Plante, programs coordinator for the center, to talk about his experience in LEADS and his expectations as an incoming freshman.
Jarrad Plante: How would you describe yourself?
Ralph Daseme: If I had to describe myself, I would say that I am humble, goal driven and relentless because I grew up with not much and I want to provide a better life for my future family and parents.
Plante: Who has shaped you as a young adult and why?
Daseme: My mother has shaped me as a young adult because I remember growing up and watching her struggle to provide for me and my sister. Her actions depicted the true definition of a fighter and overcomer. Seeing tears running down my mother’s [face] was all the motivation I needed. I made it this far, I can’t let her down. Every day, she and my dad work[ed] long shifts in hopes of a better future for their kids. Not only that, but my sisters played a major role in who I am because they look up to me and I am looking to set a high bar for them to reach.
Plante: What were you involved in as a student at Evans High School?
Daseme: During my years at Evans, I participate in Bible club, Junior Class, Student Government Association, National Honor Society, Future Leaders United, Avid, volleyball and much more.
Plante: What is UCF’s LEADS program and how did you contribute as a participant?
Daseme: The LEADS program is where high school students and UCF students work together to tackle issues in the school or community. I contributed to the program this year by being an active member who played a major role in our Respect Fair Program and Industry Inspire. I helped in spreading the meaning of respecting each other and facility on my campus.
Plante: What did you gain from your LEADS experience?
Daseme: From my experience, I gained a sense of purpose. I am more driven to give back to my community. Not only that but it provided me an opportunity to network with members of the UCF family [Jarrad Plante and Elif Kelly] which I am truly grateful for because it provides me with a sense of comfort stepping into a humongous campus like UCF.
Plante: Why did you choose UCF?
Daseme: I chose UCF because it is a very diverse and populated school. I believe it will provide me with the best opportunity in reaching my goals.
Plante: What academic program will you be majoring in and why?
Daseme: I want to major in criminal justice because I want to change the view of law enforcement in my community. I want to help others in any way possible and I believe criminal justice will allow me to do just that.
Plante: What do you hope to gain from your UCF experience?
Daseme: As a student, the first thing I want to earn from my experience at UCF is a degree. I also want to interact with others outside of my social group so that I may be able to learn new things about myself. I hope [to] acquire skills such as public speaking, time management, problem solving, etc., so that I will fit into the business world.
Plante: What are your future plans?
Daseme: My ultimate goal is to become a behavioral analyst for the FBI. I also want to invest and open up a few business (clinics). Not only that but I also want to start a foundation where I would be giving back and helping those coming up. Lastly, I want to acquire the skills of a man, a man of God. I want to inspire and motivate others.
Additional Information: Daseme started this summer as a student in the SOAR Program, a six-week, on-campus summer academic program for selected freshmen to receive additional academic preparation before attending classes in the fall.