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The Dukins Nelson Memorial Scholarship honors those individuals who have faced challenges in their lives and have, through the strength of their character and the passion of their hearts, turned them into opportunities to grow, inspire, teach, care for, and lead those around them.  

Dukins “Duke” Nelson was one such individual.

The Duke Nelson Scholarship is intended for an underprivileged student with interests in music, videography, and/or photography, in addition to an innate passion for success outside of what is perceived as possible in their community.

This student will be awarded $2,500 to enable them to turn their passion into a career through college education, skills training, apprenticeship or other educational needs. 

Gone too soon

Dukins “Duke” Nelson, a School of the Arts Vocal Music alumnus, fought all odds from an early age.  Though he grew up surrounded by a world of drugs, violence, and death, his determination to succeed prevailed.  Duke was accepted at Bak Middle School  went on to attend Dreyfoos School of the Arts, which prides itself on providing a safe and supportive community, in which students can foster their creative talents, leading its graduates  Dreyfoos helps lead their graduates to opportunities that they might not otherwise find.


By making the most of this supportive environment, Duke seemed to defy the odds, keeping countless hopes and dreams alive—both his own, and those of anyone who knew him. In the years following his graduation from DSOA, Duke mastered an unfamiliar skill (video editing), becoming a well respected and valuable source of talent while always serving the underprivileged communities of his youth.


But Duke’s biggest achievements were his friendships: From those who knew him best, to those who’d known him only once, no one whose path crossed with Duke’s was left unchanged. His brazen kindness eased the rigid. His unrepentant words of encouragement lifted the lead-footed. His solemn persistence in the face of adversity was a fountain for those without. Duke was a beacon of hope, and others followed him on the path to achieving their biggest dreams.


In all that time his own biggest dream was simply to attend university. Tragically, despite his accomplishments and a meteoric rise, Duke was taken far too soon—just as he was preparing to finally attend UF.


Now the Duke Nelson Memorial Scholarship will keep the memory of his spirit alive.


For those of you who didn't have the opportunity to meet Duke, please click on slideshow below to experience a taste of Duke's endearing personality, sense of humor and love of life. 

Completed Projects

"When I think of Duke Nelson, I picture a genuine smile that is contagious.  He carried himself in the kind of calm yet energetic manner that inspires collaboration and creative development.  Over the course of several months, my sister Alexa and I became very friendly with him.  We worked together on a few projects to promote our gallery and the artists that we represent.  Duke had a way of understanding the intentions and visions of the artists, and he intuitively wove that essence into the flow of each video he created.  The result of each creative project was the distillation of complex stories into a concise, informative, and engaging film.  Duke’s talent and passion at its core stemmed from a desire to put others in the spotlight; working to help their work be seen and acknowledged.  In today’s world, his attitude is a valuable tool that can bring people together.  His legacy represents an ethos that we all need to be willing to work together and pick each other up."  Adam Adelson, co-owner of Adelson Cavalier Galleries 

Take a peek below at some of the videos Duke created for Palm Beach clients


To donate please go to

select: Duke Nelson Memorial Scholarship  


Or make check payable to:

School of the Arts Foundation/Duke Nelson Scholarship 

Dreyfoos School of the Arts Foundation

P.O.Box 552

West Palm Beach, Fl 33402

For more information, please contact

Maribel Alvarez at 561.317.1101 or

or School of the Arts Foundation at: 561.805.6298

Duke Memorial Scholarship Founding Patrons:
Melissa Ceriale, Jane Holzer, Marzia Precoda, Felicia Taylor & Ben Guy

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