Theme Park Fun

Disney Dreamers Academy 2019 Be100

Disney Dreamers join Mickey Mouse, entertainer Steve Harvey, Vice President at Walt Disney World Resort Tracey Powell, Editor-at-Large at Essence Magazine Mikki Taylor and CEO of Essence Communications Michelle Ebanks on Sunday, March 24, 2019 to celebrate the commencement of the 12th Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The annual event is a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students from across the U.S. (Gregg Newton, photographer)

So when I was first introduced to the Disney Dreamers Academy I had some idea of what it was about but since I didn’t have any kids anywhere close to high school it was not something I paid close attention to. My little guy is almost 12 and is heading to middle school and I know that means in just a few short years he will be in *gasp* highschool.

Our jobs as parents is to love our kids and prepare them for the next chapters of life and to make their way in this crazy, crazy world. I was so excited to have the opportunity to witness a program and an event that also does just that. Prepare kids to become young adults, to make an impact in their community, to the people around them and even those they have yet to meet, and to above all follow their dreams.

So what exactly is the Disney Dreamers Academy and how do these teens get chosen?

The Disney Dreamers Academy (DDA) which is currently in its 12th year hosted by Essence Magazine and Steve Harvey, works to inspire teenagers at a critical time in their lives. Their theme Be100 works to empower teens and encourage them to be a force of positivity and to take what learn during their time at Disney (4 days) back home and make a true difference in their lives.

The 4 days that they are there may not seem like a lot of time to make a huge impact but I can say that the speakers and the workshops that they have planned for these teens is top notch and I was even inspired just listening to the speakers they brought in to speak with these teens.

“The Speakers Resource Group (SRG) consists of celebrities and noted professionals who serve as year-round ambassadors for Disney Dreamers Academy, help lead workshops throughout the weekend event and serve as panel judges for the applications.”

Some of the fantastic people in the group include, Actor and Comedian, Steve Harvey; award-winning gospel singer, Yolanda Adams; Editor-at-large and former Beauty and Cover director at Essence magazine, Mikki Taylor; Las Vegas Bellagio Chef, Chef Jeff Henderson; Founder of Beyond Her, Brandy Harvey; motivational Speaker Johnathan Sprinkles, just to name a few.

2019 DDA Speakers

1st row left to right: Trevor Jackson, Ruth Carter, Marcus Scribner, James McCrary, Courtney Quinn
2nd row left to right: Miles Brown, Mike Muse, Lauren Simmons, JJ West, Chloe and Halle and Becky A Davis
An inspirational panel with Mike Muse, Lauren Simmons and Courtney Quinn

Workshops/Deep Dives/Parent Track

During their time at the Dreamers Academy both the teens spend much of the time with their peers in what are known as Deep Dives, and these Deep Dives are broken down to coincide with each teens specific interests. Each Deep Dive session allows the teens to dive in and see how their dreams could become a reality.

There were 10 Deep Dives:

  • Culinary
  • Education
  • Entrepreneur
  • Imagineering
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Disney Entertainment
  • Medical
  • Natural Sciences
  • Technology

Here are some workshop highlights:

High school students Ian McKenna Goncalo from Austin, Texas and Gabrielle Williams-Pope from Accokeek, Md. engage in a culinary workshop Friday, March 22, 2019, during Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 12th annual Disney Dreamers Academy, taking place March 21-24, 2019 is a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students from across the U.S. (Gregg Newton, photographer)

Mickey Mouse surprises high school students during an Imagineering/engineering workshop Friday, March 22, 2019, during Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 12th annual Disney Dreamers Academy, taking place March 21-24, 2019 is a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students from across the U.S. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

High school students Julia Shepherd from Apopka, Fla. and Benedict Zuzi from Loganville, Ga. engage in an Imagineering/engineering workshop Friday, March 22, 2019, during Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 12th annual Disney Dreamers Academy, taking place March 21-24, 2019 is a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students from across the U.S. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

Dreamer Spotlights

I was so excited to have the opportunity to speak with 3 amazing Dreamers Myles Madden, Jasmine Bell, and Dreamer Alumni Cedric Beal. These teens were amazing to speak with super down to earth and awesome to meet.

Myles Madden

17-year-old High School Senior at Dutchtown High School. I am an extremely hard-working student, a regional and national award-winning student. My hobbies include visual art, screenwriting and film analysis. I am involved with multiple clubs and activities including a film club I created. Once I graduate, I hope to study Dramatic Writing at New York University. As a student, I always strive for success. I intend to seize new opportunities, even if they aren’t presented to me.
Myles Madden Interview

Jasmine Bell

I am 15 years old and attend East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina where I am a member of the Culinary and FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) Team. I enjoy playing volleyball, writing stories and all things culinary. I am an aspiring chef who has competed on Top Chef Jr. and Masterchef Jr. I own Kirkgate Kitchen, recently founded a non-profit organization, “Her Voice Matters” and I am currently writing a cookbook. My dream is to be a world renowned chef and culinary TV personality who inspires young girls to follow their dreams.
Jasmine Bell interview

Cedric Beal

Cedric Beal is a freshman at Morehouse College and a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society. He is currently acting, writing scripts and producing short films, and during his freshman year, Cedric has received scholarships and opportunities to participate in programs with Fortune 500 companies. He is currently a Thurgood Marshall Scholar, a HOBY Academic All-star, a Ford Blue Oval Scholarship recipient, a Hollister Co Anti-Bullying Scholarship recipient, a National Federation of State High School Associations Summit Mentor, and a Boeing Immersion Program participant.
As the founder of Carry My Brothers LLC (CMB), a humanitarian effort to stop social injustices, he is helping others to understand how their decisions in life impact others. CMB has pushed him to serve as an avid mentor in local Atlanta Public Schools which allows him to help several elementary and middle school students.
Cedric was a member of the 2017 Disney Dreamers Academy where he received the Superstar Confidence Award.
Cedric Beal Interview Pt. 1
Cedric Beal Interview Pt. 2

After having the chance to speak with them I have no doubt that they will do amazing things and I cannot wait to see where they go.

Overall the time I was able to spend with the Dreamers and at this fantastic life-changing event is one that I will never forget and will not let my kids forget. While they are not at the age yet to apply, I cannot wait till they are because I could see them flourishing after their time there. The Application process is open now for the 2020 year for teens ages 13-19 in grades 9-12th grade. Be a dreamer and apply HERE.

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