This weekend, 100 students from across the country celebrated the conclusion of the 16th year of Disney Dreamers Academy with an emotional commencement ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, featuring an inspirational speech by Grammy-nominated singer Halle Bailey, who will play Ariel in the upcoming live-action remake of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.’’ The annual four-day event also included empowering sessions from a host of celebrities; special once-in-a lifetime surprise opportunities for students; performances from Disney Live Entertainment; and a moving ring ceremony to mark the teens’ special achievement at the culmination of the event.
The teens, recognized as Disney Dreamers, were selected from among thousands of applicants to participate in the mentoring program. Created and hosted by Walt Disney World, the program is designed to broaden career awareness and create opportunities for Black students and teens from underrepresented communities across America.
The 100 students, along with a parent or guardian, received an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World to participate in the program.
“Disney Dreamers Academy is an important part of Walt Disney World’s commitment to supporting Black students and teens from underrepresented communities across America, by encouraging the next generation to think big and to carry what they learn back home with them,” said Tracey D. Powell, Vice President of Travel Services/Pricing and Revenue Management and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “We hope to encourage these dreamers to relentlessly pursue their dreams and make a difference in the lives of others.”
The event was highlighted by some unique experiences for all the students as well as some special surprise moments, where select teens received “dream-come-true’’ career opportunities and experiences, such as:
- All 100 students enjoyed an exclusive opportunity to be part of a magical parade at Magic Kingdom Park with Bailey.
- Several students experienced the new TRON Lightcycle / Run presented by Enterprise ahead of its official opening at Magic Kingdom Park on April 4.
- Two aspiring teen filmmakers were surprised by Bailey with a personal invitation to join her on the red carpet at the upcoming world premiere of the live-action remake of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” in Hollywood.
- Three teens interested in music careers got a surprise visit from Grammy award-winning artist H.E.R., who gifted each teen an autographed guitar.
- One student interested in a broadcast career was surprised by ABC’s Good Morning America, which invited the teen to take part in an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the show from its New York studios.