Eight Florida students were among 100 teens selected to participate in the 10th annual Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE at Walt Disney World last weekend. The students were selected from thousands of applicants nationwide to participate in a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students across the U.S. Disney Dreamers from Florida (l-r) Christopher Young (Jacksonville), William Thomas Gilmore (Cutler Bay), Jordan Mills (Jacksonville), Chancellor Frankson (Boynton Beach), Bethanyanne Chandler (Tallahassee), Danielle Greif (Lutz), Breanna Boland (Riviera Beach) and Millie Rivera Rodriguez (Harmony) pose with Mickey Mouse, Tracey D. Powell, Disney executive champion of Disney Dreamers Academy (center) and Minnie Mouse. Photo by Gregg Newton.
No One Captures Dreams Like Disney!
By Denise Y. Mose
Celebrity Mentors and 100 Students! That’s a cool combination isn’t it? Would you believe that your life can change in four days? Well, trust me it can. Walt Disney World Resort has been the backdrop to Dreamers for ten years. The Disney Dreamers Academy is an exclusive Mentoring Program located in the heart of the happiest place on Earth. Within this Academy, the Students are called Dreamers. I love that. The constant reinforcement of your dreams is a running theme for this unique experience. Mrs. Tracey Powell spearheads the Disney Dreamers Academy and it’s the hottest ticket in town. This dynamic program leaves me speechless each year. Let’s break down these four days shall we? Here we go:
The Dreamers: Mrs. Powell is the Executive Champion for the Disney Dreamers Program. Along with her team, Mrs. Powell selects which students will attend this incredible weekend. Several applicants send in their packet in hopes that they’ll be selected. This year over 10,000 students hoped to make it in, yet only 100 were given the golden ticket. As a Writer I serve as a sponge for what’s in store for these very lucky 100 Dreamers. What’s so exciting is that these students come from all over the world and that makes this time all the more extraordinary.
Celebrity Mentors: Steve Harvey, Michelle Eubanks, Mikki Taylor, Yolanda Adams, Dr. Steve Perry, Jonathan Sprinkles, Chef Jeff Henderson and a host of others inspired and intrigued Dreamers over the weekend. Can you image that? TV Host, Business Moguls, Presidents of Magazines, Beauty Experts, Professional Chefs, Principals, Motivational Speakers, NFL Superstars, Teenage Millionaires, A-List Actors and Music Legends are the ones that will pour into these Dreamers! Wow! Just saying those names makes me dizzy! As a special bonus, Ms. Taylor Iman, an Alumni Dreamer, blessed the audience with her melodic voice and cast us all under her spell. An aspiring singer, she has opened for several artists and is a Youth Mentor to new Dreamers. Having performed on broadway and on a few hit television shows, it’s no wonder her name belongs with the biggest stars in the world. She is the example that although you are young, your wildest dreams can and DO come true!
Deep Dives: The Deep Dives are intense seminars with the Dreamers and Mentors….ONLY! Mr. Steve Harvey is famously known for kicking out parents and the media so that he gets the true opportunity to “breakdown” the truth. I love this! Who better to give you advice on every aspect of life than someone whose been there and can help you avoid the pitfalls along the way? Now you see why ten thousand people applied, right?
Walt Disney World: Need I say more? Once you are selected as a Dreamer, you get some pretty amazing treats. Disney flies you and your family on a plane, they move you into the luxurious and spacious Animal Kingdom Lodge, you receive gifts (watches, tablets, backpacks, etc), you walk in a Disney World Parade and you get to ride the rides, as well. Whew! That’s mind-blowing. Moreover, the food is delicious and you get to meet Chef Jeff Henderson who makes sure your tummy stays full.
The Graduation: Tears! Prepare for the deluge of tears. Like I said, no one captures dreams like Disney. A kaleidoscope of pictures transports you to the very first day up until the most recent memory is on full display at graduation. The four days truly go by fast the video reminds everyone of new friends and unforgettable mentors. To further solidify the pomp and circumstance, Mickey Mouse appears and congratulates each student. But, that’s not it! In only Disney fashion, the cast of The Lion King Show sings, performs dances and motivates ach person in the room. As the last song comes to a close, a burst of gold confetti cascades down from above and kisses each person on the cheek. Now, that’s how you make a lasting memory.
I am forever grateful to my awesome Editor Mr. James Madison who sends me all over the world to be a part of such special events.
Hats off to Mrs. Tracey Powell, Treva and Joel on another electrifying four days in Florida. I’ll see you next year!