– ‘Dreaming Big’ Mantra Comes Alive March 8-11, 2012 as 100 Students Get Fresh Perspective, Jump Start on Career Paths and Life –
Walt Disney World Resort has announced the list of 100 high school students from across the U.S. who have been selected to attend the 2012 Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine. Atlanta Public Schools’ Andre White from BEST Academy and Nydia Stanley from Carver School of the Arts were chosen from over 4,000 applicants to participate in this exciting event. They are the first APS students to ever receive this honor.
Often described as the world’s most creative classroom, the four-day power-packed program hosted by renowned entertainer Steve Harvey will be held March 8-11, 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Disney’s Dreamers Academy inspires and fuels the dreams of selected students to help them dream bigger, discover a world of possibilities and get a jump start on making those dreams come true.
Now entering its fifth year, more than 500 high school students will have participated since Disney’s Dreamers Academy opened its doors in 2008.
A celebrity panel of judges led by comedian, author, philanthropist and Disney’s Dreamers Academy Ambassador Steve Harvey reviewed more than 4,700 applications and selected the 100 students for the Class of 2012 Disney’s Dreamers Academy. Judging criteria included exhibiting curiosity, compassion and leadership skills.
During the 2012 Disney’s Dreamers Academy, students will engage in multiple activities, including interacting with a range of industry professionals and experience immersive introductions to various career paths. Disney’s Dreamers Academy students participate in workshops on a variety of subjects, including entertainment, entrepreneurship, the medical field, culinary arts and creative inspiration from Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative gurus behind Disney’s theme parks and attractions.
“We are thrilled to announce this new class of 100 unique Dreamers who will graduate from the Academy with a whole new perspective on their future,” said Tracey Walters-Powell, executive champion of the program for Disney Parks & Resorts. “We received more applications this year than any other and we have selected an amazing class for this historic fifth year anniversary of the Dreamers Academy.”
“I’ve been with Dreamers Academy from day one and each year the program gets stronger as we add new interactive and experiential components for these students, so to hit the five-year mark is quite an accomplishment,” said Steve Harvey, who has served as Ambassador of Disney’s Dreamers Academy since the program started. “Investing and re-investing in these kids each year, you can really see the pay off as they leave the Academy and start to look at their future in a much different and much brighter light.”
Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks said, “I am not going to divulge any secrets as to what’s being planned for this important fifth anniversary, but if you know anything about Walt Disney World, you know this life-changing event is going to be a truly amazing spectacular for these students and we are proud to be a part of it.”
Proving that Disney’s Dreamers Academy graduates emerge with a new perspective on life and their career paths, two recent graduates from the Class of 2011 Disney’s Dreamers Academy — Diamond Sims of Miami and Princeton Parker of Los Angeles — were invited to share their stories on the popular blog Huffington Post.
“Disney’s Dreamers Academy was a part of my life that I will never ever forget,” said Sims, who is now a freshman at University of Florida. “ I met people who are from the same place as I am. I met people from all types of professions who were willing to provide advice, guidance and encouragement. In only a few days, they helped mold me into the young woman that I am today.”
Parker,17, who just started his first year of communications studies at the University of Southern California, said: “Disney’s Dreamers Academy changed my life not only by enlarging my dreams and understanding, but also by introducing me to more than 100 other young visionaries who possess the same drive, tenacity, vigor and capacity to dream.”
Speakers Resource Group Added to Enhance Dreamers Academy
To increase the depth of experiences shared at Disney’s Dreamers Academy, a formal speakers resource group has been formed that includes accomplished professionals who serve as program ambassadors and who share common goals: inspiring youth to believe in their dreams and giving them tools to jumpstart their dreams into reality. The Disney’s Dreamers Academy Speakers Resource Group champions students in a variety of ways, including participating in the panel of judges who selected the 100 students to attending the flagship event at Walt Disney World Resort to offering insights about the four-day event curriculum. They also collaborate with Disney in extending Disney’s Dreamers Academy program content into relevant community, educational and entertainment platforms.
The 2012 Disney’s Dreamers Academy Speakers Resource Group will include: Mikki Taylor (Editor-at-Large, ESSENCE Magazine); Yolanda Adams (gospel music legend); Terrence J (BET host of 106 and Park); Stephen A. Smith (broadcaster and sports analyst); Dr. Steve Perry (education advocate and CNN commentator); Sonia Jackson-Myles (founder and author, The Sister Accord); Jonathan Sprinkles (award-winning motivational speaker); and Brandi Harvey (Corporate and Community Relations Director, the Steve Harvey World Group) and Karli Harvey (Hair Artesian, U Salon, Atlanta).
About Steve Harvey: Steve Harvey first performed stand-up comedy in the mid-1980s, which eventually led to a long stint as host of “It’s Showtime at the Apollo.” His success as a stand-up comedian led to multiple TV sitcoms, including: “Me and The Boys”, “The Steve Harvey Show” and “Steve Harvey’s Big Time Challenge.” His first book, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” quickly became a bestseller in 2009 has been made into a motion picture which will be in theatres nationwide in April of 2012. Harvey has appeared on “The Oprah Show,” “Nightline,” “Good Morning America” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Currently, Harvey hosts the nationally syndicated radio show “Steve Harvey Morning Show” which airs in over 60 markets and has more than 7 million listeners. He is also the current host of the television game show Family Feud.
About Essence Communications Inc.: Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online. The company’s flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the Essence Music Festival, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in Music, Window on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 41 years, ESSENCE, which has a brand reach of over 8 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women’s lives.
About Walt Disney World Resort / The Walt Disney Co.: Walt Disney World Resort is a contiguous 40-square-mile, world-class entertainment and recreation center located at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 20 miles southwest of Orlando. The Walt Disney Co. has a rich legacy of creativity and exceptional storytelling that brings families together in unique and memorable ways. Creative excellence is coupled with a strong commitment to community service and diversity. The Walt Disney Co. is dedicated to making a positive impact in communities around the world, with a primary focus on brightening the lives of children.