Consider The Culture

This project began in July 2020, involving youth interviewing elders about life growing up in Palm Beach County. Youth researchers representing West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Pahokee, and Belle Glade, virtually interviewed elders representing these same cities. Two interns from Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) assist in facilitating the project, along with another PBA student serving as Tech Assistant. Through their research and interviews, the youth came up ideas tell the elders’ stories and  highlight elders’ experiences with racism in the educations system, segregation, and discrimination. Here are a few:


participants_Catalina Rios

Catalina Rios


Catalina Rios was born and raised in Colombia, but has lived in Boca Raton, Florida since 2017. She is a recent graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University where she majored in Psychology and minored in Christian Social Ministry. She is an intern for the Project and performed tasks such as assisting the project director and guiding youth teams with interviewing, coding and analyzing collected data.

participants_Nicole DeAvila

Nicole DeAvila


Nicole De Avila was born in West Michigan but has lived in South Florida for the past ten years. She is a senior at Palm Beach Atlantic University on track to graduate May 2021. She is majoring in Christian Social Ministry with a minor in education. She is an intern for the Oral History Project and helped student researchers through the interview and research process. As well as create content for the social media platforms. 

participants_Josmery Botello

Josmery Botello


Josmery Botello was born in Dominican Republic and raised in MIami, Florida. She is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University where she studied Psychology and Christian Social Ministry. She serves as the project’s Tech Assistant by personally contacting all of our participants and preparing them for our interview meetings. She has also assisted in conducting research for the project.


participants_Cordayja Searcy

Cordayja Searcy


Cordayja Searcy is a 18 year old senior who will soon be graduating from Atlantic Community High School. She was born in Boynton Beach, Florida but was raised in Delray Beach, Florida for most of her life. As of now, she is a member of the Emanuel Jackson Sr. Project, Inc, also known as the EJS project. Cordayja likes to paint, draw, sculpt, model, and do just about anything that involves art. She enjoys cooking and baking new dishes for her family and friends to try out. She also likes to get involved with groups online with people who have similar and different interests as her. Since she is a senior in high school, she is hoping that she will be accepted into her desired college that she has applied to in order to begin her life as an independent person. Cordayja wants to be in the animation field and game art design field as her career. She hopes to someday visit other countries to learn and experience different cultures.

participants_Essence Foster

Essence Foster


Essence Foster is 17 years old. She was born in Loxahatchee, FL but grew up her entire life in Pahokee, FL. Essence is a senior at Pahokee High school where she was a part of the cheerleading team. She also enjoys shopping and helping others. After high school, Essence plans to pursue her Nursing degree at the University of South Florida. 

participants_Jermaine Mays

Jermaine Mays


Jermaine Mays is 19 years-old. He grew up in the city of Belle Glade, Florida. He  graduated from Glades Central High School in the class of 2020.  He is a team member of The Student ACES Center in Belle Glade, FL and enjoys football and being a mentor to his peers. His goal is to one day become an electrician.

participants_Jovonna Morton

Jovonna Morton


Jovonna Morton is 16 years old. She was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She has lived in West Palm Beach, Florida since she was 9 years old. She attends Suncoast High School and she is in the 10th grade. She is a part of Salvation Army’s T.R.I.B.E, Photography club, The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), and Pre-Med club. She enjoys spending her time making advanced friendship bracelets and hanging out with friends and family. She wants to graduate with honors and get into the college of her dreams.

participants_Zanae Talbert

Zanae Talbert


Zanae Talbert is 16 years old. She was born in West Palm Beach, FL where she has lived her entire life. She is in the 10th grade at Palm Beach Lakes High school. She volunteers at the Police Athletic League (PAL) where she has attended since she was five years old. Zanae likes creating beauty products like body butter, lip scrubs, lip oils, body shirmers, and face masks that she does for her own company Melanin Escentials. Her dream is to become the youngest black business woman of her generation.