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Boca Raton High School students featured in popular Super Bowl ad

Posted at 11:23 PM, Feb 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 04:42:41-05

Their goal was to make sure that no student ever has to eat alone at lunch and now, their message has reached millions of people across the globe.

A Boca Raton High School club called "We Dine Together" was featured in one of this year's most talked about Super Bowl and Olympic commercials.

The club formed a year and a half ago and gained international attention after national media outlets profiled the club's cause.

WPTV also did a feature story last year on their mission to make sure no student ever feels alone on campus.

The Super Bowl commercial was put together by financial company MassMutual and highlights inspirational stories across the country. People of all ages and backgrounds coming together singing the song, "I'll Stand By You."

"Being able to sing that song and mean the words, it was amazing," said Martha DiGiaccio, a Boca HS senior and club member.

READ MORE: Students who created Boca Raton Community High School lunch club get award

Club founder Denis Estimon has graduated high school since founding the club, but he often comes back to the school to help mentor the next generation of club members.

"If you can bring people together and learn more about each other, then our differences can make the difference," he said.

He said he's happy to see the commercial help send their message they've worked so hard at cultivating to millions across the world.

"People know the issue. We have provided a solution to the issue and now it's about providing that solution to everyone in the U.S. and the world. So that we can combat bullying, so we can combat social isolation, so that we can combat depression," said Estimon. "We Dine Together is not what we do, it's who we are and what we believe in."

"Social media is so important in this day and age and for everyone to see what is really happening -- and we the people are the ones that are in charge of this," said Nicole Auchinleck, club member and high school junior.

The commercial was shot throughout campus for several hours over the course of three days, mostly in the lunch room where the idea behind the club was born.

"Not even two years ago, this was an idea in two or three people's minds," said DiGiaccio. "And now, people contact them because they want to show the world what we're doing."

Students said the crew, made up of dozens of people, had them repeat the song multiple times to get the perfect shot.

"We kept repeating it to get it perfect, because that's a platform that we're using to reach to people all over the world. It's going to be seen by schools and other people who want to get involved," said Elizabeth Poonai, club member and high school senior. "So it's the perfect platform for us to reach everyone and have this become a bigger movement for change."

This is just the latest attention since WPTV's profile almost a year ago. Back then, Garsendy St. Fleur was a new member and now, he's a club leader and was recently featured in Forbes.

"Since I started going to the club, my English got better, I met new people," said St. Fleur, a native of Haiti. "I'm really happy and proud of myself."

Garsendy, along with other students and the club's sponsor -- teacher Jordan Hernandez -- were even treated to a ceremony in New York City during the Times Square celebration on CNN.

"It's been really crazy but at the same time, super humbling," said Hernandez. "At the end of the day, it's able to spread a message and have a conversation that a lot of people don't want to have."

We Dine Together has more work to do, especially now that the commercial has brought the club even more fame. The group is continuing to expand and has obtained non-profit status.

"We're launching clubs in over 40 states and basically we've got the whole country mapped out," said Estimon.  "We're even getting requests from places like Hong Kong and Australia."

Hernandez and Estimon are working on cultivating new leaders within the club to help continue the mission they helped start a year and a half ago.

"We have some new fresh faces that are eager. They are from different countries, different perspectives and they're really trying to fulfill the mission to make sure that no one dines alone."