Youth Academy: Steve Harvey Teams With Disney

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Walt Disney World Resort, in partnership with nationally syndicated radio personality Steve Harvey, announced its selection of 100 nationwide high school students to participate in the Disney’s Dreamers Academy of 2009.

Selected students and a guardian will travel to Walt Disney World Resort to take part in an innovative career inspiration program that includes interactive workshops, motivational talks, hands-on creative experiences and fun. The program will take place February 12-15, 2009, during national Black History Month.

"With the nation’s attention on change and a spirit of renewed hope, we are very pleased with the excitement centered on this year’s Disney’s Dreamers Academy and the overwhelming enthusiasm it has generated from young people spanning America," said Xiomara Wiley, a vice president of marketing at Disney Destinations. "We want to educate and open doors for our young dreamers by helping them to realize the power within and inspiring them to discover their dreams and follow them wherever they lead."

Celebrating its second "Dreamers Class," the Disney’s Dreamers Academy reaches out nationwide to teens, grades 9-12, extolling the virtues of preparing for the future. The program’s aim is to expose teens to creative and nontraditional career opportunities in everything from culinary arts to animation, set design and show production to the business of sports, while inspiring them to exceed the boundaries of their dreams and imaginations.

The Steve Harvey Morning Show conducted the Dreamer’s Contest to identify the participants in Disney’s Dreamers Academy. This program was created for high school students who show promise – but may need additional motivational support to excel. However, all of the selected students share a trait: the power to DREAM. Parents, teachers, school administrators, church groups and even the students themselves nominated more than 4,000 aspiring dreamers from across the nation for the program.

"The Walt Disney World organization has been a great partner in this initiative, and their commitment to providing students with a once in a life time experience, such as Disney’s Dreamers Academy, is commendable," said Steve Harvey. "Together, we have the ability to enhance the lives of these deserving kids by showing them that there are many ways to follow your dreams."

During Disney’s Dreamers Academy, students are given unprecedented access to the magic behind Walt Disney World Resort. As part of their experience this group of dreamers will participate in interactive workshops focusing on a variety of subjects including Walt Disney Imagineering techniques, entertainment, the business of sports, culinary arts, and more.

Disney cast members, executives and celebrities will share their blueprints for success. Participants will also explore Disney’s theme parks and then end their special weekend with a graduation ceremony where a special guest will deliver a motivational address.

Participants in this year’s Disney’s Dreamers Academy class were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including: Harvey; Wiley; Rushion McDonald (executive producer of the Steve Harvey Morning Show); Reverend Randolph Bracy (president of the NAACP, Orlando); Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed (president, Bethune-Cookman University); Terrence J. (host of BET 106 & Park); Eugene Campbell (vice president of community relations & minority business development, Walt Disney World Resort); Steve Smith (NBA TV analyst/Ex-NBA player); Stephen A. Smith (ESPN Radio host/sports journalist); Cassie Davis (actress, "Tyler Perry’s House of Payne"); Mark Hayes (WAGA-TV anchor, Fox Atlanta); and Eduardo Correia (director, Kodak Multicultural Marketing).

The Disney’s Dreamer Academy was launched in 2007.

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