100 Students from Across the U.S to Experience Career Immersion in the World’s Most Creative Classroom – Walt Disney World Resort
Six New York City-area high school students were chosen out of thousands to attend the 2012 Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine in the world’s most creative classroom – Walt Disney World Resort.
Now in its fifth year, this four-day power-packed program exposes students to a world of possibilities that inspires them to dream big and get started on their career paths now. During the program, Dreamers will participate in immersive 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. Disney’s
The 2012 Disney’s Dreamers Academy will take place March 8-11, 2012, at Walt Disney World Resort, near
New York City-area students in the Class of 2012 Disney’s Dreamers Academy include:
- Zahra Abd’Allah, 17 years old – Home Schooled (Jamaica, NY) – Born in Barbados and raised in Jamaica, New York, this powerful writer credits the “power the pen” with helping her get to the semi-finals of the Knicks Poetry Slam, winning a scholarship to Black Girls Rock Camp, and being nominated for a Rising Star Award. Zahra is also an avid golfer for First Tee NY, swims for NYC Parks team, and has a passion for alternative medicine because she is “amazed by the workings of the human body.”
- Chima Agwu, 20 years old – Belmont Preparatory High School (Brooklyn, NY) – Chima has a passion for cooking and enjoys helping other students make healthy recipes that they can enjoy or share with their families and incorporate into their daily lives. He has worked on food justice campaigns and is also the founder of his student union group.
- Julian Canery, 16 years old – Brooklyn Latin School (Brooklyn, NY) – Julian refuses to let the violence of his Flatbush neighborhood hold him back, despite having a best friend gunned down on the playground of a local school. Instead, he plans to travel to Peru to help rebuild schools for underprivileged students and learn about their culture. His dreams include attending either Cornell or Syracuse University to study media arts.
- Deborah Hamberg, 16 years old – Dewitt Clinton High School (Bronx, NY) – Growing up as one of nine siblings who were shuttled among foster homes, Deborah admits her early years were rough. Yet she has now become a successful sophomore at Dewitt Clinton High school where she enjoys reading, writing and running on the track team.
- Nicholas Harris, 15 years old – Forham Preparatory School (New York, NY) – Nick loves the water, which is evident as a member of his school’s Freshman Swimming and Diving Team that won a recent championship. He’s also in the Marine Biology Club, plays soccer and enjoys time with friends and family. Nick says his journey is just beginning as he pursues a career in either marine biology or computer engineering.
- Jacqueline Ferro, 16 years old – Nanuet Senior High School (Nanuet, NY) – Jacqueline gift of music began at 8 as classically trained pianist and trumpet player, but her passion for learning pushed her to excel in math and science as well. She spent most of this past summer in a chemistry lab at Columbia University. Jacqueline says she wants to touch someone’s heart either through a song or by discovering some unique function in a strand of DNA that will make a difference in the world.
This year marks a historic milestone for Disney’s Dreamer’s Academy – the fifth anniversary of the program. More than 500 students will have explored the magic behind Disney at the culmination of the 2012 commencement.
“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
“I’ve been with
Launched in 2007, Disney’s Dreamer’s Academy with Steve Harvey was developed to motivate high school students in grades 9-12 to achieve their dreams personally and professionally. In the summer of 2010 the program was renamed Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine with the addition of Essence Communications, Inc.’s participation as a sponsor.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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