Disney Hosts Select High School Students for Annual Program

Dreamers to engage in career and mentoring workshops at seventh-annual Disney Dreamers Academy in March

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Mar. 6, 2014) – This weekend, Walt Disney World Resort will host an exclusive group of teens for the Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine.  The teens, along with a parent or guardian, received an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort March 6-9, but they aren’t vacationing. Instead, they will be participating in a once-in-lifetime, innovative, outside-the-classroom, educational and mentoring program.

Entering its seventh year, Disney Dreamers Academy continues to hold true to its mission to inspire and fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for the future. Each year, students participate in hands-on, full-immersion workshops related to a bevy of career paths ranging from animation to zoology. Each participant learns important skills such as communication techniques and networking strategies.

It all takes place in a magical setting: the Walt Disney World theme parks. Both on stage and behind the scenes, the parks become vibrant classrooms, leading to career discoveries, the pursuit of dreams and fun memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Motivational speakers and celebrities share their stories and provide insight on how to achieve success and DREAM BIG. Dreamers have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with other students from across the nation while they gain first-hand knowledge from Disney experts and world-renowned entrepreneurs and executives.

“Over the past six years, we have helped 600 Dreamers unlock their potential and get started on their journeys in life,” said Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion Tracey D. Powell. “The seventh Disney Dreamers Academy marks another year of continued motivation, education and success. Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Communications share in our vision of enriching lives. Everyone leaves this program inspired to live their best life.”

Walt Disney World Resort along with Steve Harvey, syndicated television and radio personality, and  ESSENCE Magazine will host the selected Dreamers during their four-day power packed career and educational exploration. Harvey, speaking on the program, says, “Disney Dreamers Academy gives hope and inspiration and exposes youth to a world of possibilities. We are excited about another opportunity to transform lives and give students an inside look at what their future can hold.”

ESSENCE Communications President Michelle Ebanks added, “We are excited about the seventh Disney Dreamers Academy. This program transcends the normal classroom setting, taking learning to the next level. This year we plan to go above and beyond to encourage Dreamers. Our valued partnership with Disney Parks and Steve Harvey represents our commitment to the leaders of tomorrow.”

This year’s students were selected from nearly 10,000 applicants – the most applicants in the history of the program – by a panel of judges representing the best in their fields that included Powell, Harvey and Ebanks. Applicants answered a series of essay questions about their personal stories and life dreams.

The rest of the 2014 Disney Dreamers Academy judging panel was comprised of: Mikki Taylor (Editor-at-Large, ESSENCE Magazine); Dr. Steve Perry (education advocate and CNN commentator); Sonia Jackson Myles (founder and author, The Sister Accord); Jonathan Sprinkles (award-winning motivational speaker); Chef Jeff Henderson (celebrity chef and motivational speaker); Brandi Harvey (Corporate and Community Relations Director, the Steve Harvey World Group); Karli Harvey (Hair Artesian, U Salon, Atlanta) and Princeton Parker (Disney Dreamers Academy alumnus).

This accomplished group, along with others including Yolanda Adams (gospel music legend); Terrence J (actor and host of E! News); Stephen A. Smith (broadcaster and sports analyst); and Alex O. Ellis (CEO, Simply Ellis Custom Clothier), remains involved in Disney Dreamers Academy throughout the year, serving as the program’s ambassadors and advisory panel as part of Disney Dreamers Academy Speakers Resource Group.

For more information, visit www.disneysdreamersacademy.com, www.facebook.com/disneysdreamersacademy or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dreamersacademy.

The following students have been selected to participate in the 2014 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine:

First Last City State
Jonathon Pulliam Huntsville Ala.
Chelsi Harris Cerritos Calif.
Julia Schemmer Corona Calif.
Savannah Sims Elk Grove Calif.
DeVante Ellis Brown Pacifica Calif.
Xzavion Stevenson Sacramento Calif.
Nia-Renee Cooper Valencia Calif.
Briana Dingle Washington D.C.
Jeremy March Apopka Fla.
Carlos Marmolejo Homestead Fla.
Matthew Young Jacksonville Fla.
Kyla George Jacksonville Fla.
Tamara Lee Jacksonville Fla.
Caroline Doyle Longwood Fla.
Samantha Solberg Longwood Fla.
Madison Parrish Maitland Fla.
KiAundra Kilpatrick Miami Gardens Fla.
Tra’Vaughn Harrington New Port Richey Fla.
Pavlina Osta Port Orange Fla.
Kiana Favors Royal Palm Beach Fla.
Jeanine Shraim Sunrise Fla.
Neijia Rilley Tampa Fla.
Jessica Wilson Tampa Fla.
Kiara Davis Atlanta Ga.
Diamond Stewart Atlanta Ga.
Keyonda Gordon Bonaire Ga.
Keza Kasende Buford Ga.
Justin Bell Douglasville Ga.
Jordan Fisher Jonesboro Ga.
Christina Lucas Roswell Ga.
Jevon McCastle Valdosta Ga.
Niani Scott Bolingbrook Ill.
Richard Wright Chicago Ill.
Brittany Joshua Chicago Ill.
Anthony Davis` Homewood Ill.
Marquise Black Matteson Ill.
Jordyn Smith Merrillville Ind.
Zebulun Jackson Kansas City Kan.
Joseph Stevenson Baker La.
Miguel Black Covington La.
Victoria Glidden Lynn Mass.
Asia McCallum Baltimore Md.
Tylon Shepherd District Heights Md.
Courtney Johnson Upper Marlboro Md.
Crystal Onwu Upper Marlboro Md.
Audra Clark Detroit Mich.
Chante Wiggins Detroit Mich.
Samuel Trotter Detroit Mich.
Mainza Snapp Harperwoods Mich.
Alyx Johnson Romulus Mich.
Arianna Humphrey Plymouth Minn.
Matt Henderson Great Falls Mo.
Luke Morrel Cary N.C.
Rachel Woods Clayton N.C.
Maya Palmer Garner N.C.
Doni Holloway Laurinburg N.C.
Brianna Blow Snow Hill N.C.
Moorea Cioppa Brick N.J.
Cheyenne Allen East Orange N.J.
Duval Woodford II Egg Harbor Township N.J.
Tomorrow Baldwin-Montgomery Haddonfield N.J.
Davonté Drayden Jersey City N.J.
Sahking Mathis Montclair N.J.
Jaleah Bernard Willingboro N.J.
Avia Anderson Bronx N.Y.
Daniel Anikwue Brooklyn N.Y.
Chelsea Mina Brooklyn N.Y.
Madison Mack Brooklyn, New York N.Y.
Ato Arkhurst Liverpool N.Y.
Tiana Young Spring Valley N.Y.
Andrianna Watson Garfield Heights Ohio
Lucretia Adams Sagamore Hills Ohio
Kenya Spears Portland Ore.
Ryan Stewart Philadelphia Pa.
Cara Treacy Chester Springs Pa.
Quencey Hickerson Harrisburg Pa.
Amijah Townsend-Holmes Philadelphia Pa.
Rachel Toney Aiken S.C.
Tiara Anderson Columbia S.C.
Caitlin Montgomery Fort Mill S.C.
Emral Burgess Salters S.C.
Donavon Davis Spartanburg S.C.
Austin Bush West Columbia S.C.
Arlisa Dillard Memphis Tenn.
Darin McMahon Sugar Land Texas
Alexandra Elias Beaumont Texas
Sheridan Smith Dallas Texas
Lenna Reed Houston Texas
Sarah Mills Marion Texas
Chelsey Caldwell Mont Belvieu Texas
Sira Ntagha Richmond Texas
Matthew Moody Spring Texas
Sierra Bruggink Eden Utah
Joshua Reed Alexandria Va.
Brooke Willett Morrisville Vt.
Haley Stowell Eau Claire Wis.
Olivia Dodd Charleston W.Va.
Rachel Pence Charleston W.Va.

                                                                                                                                    

Media Contacts:

Maria Cecilia Toro
Walt Disney World Public Relations
maria.c.toro@disney.com
407.566.6310

Treva J. Marshall/Joel Kaiman
TJM Communications, Inc.
treva@tjmcommunications.com / joel@tjmcommunications.com
407.977.5004

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