Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney World Resort executive Tracey D. Powell joined the “Good Morning America’’ hosts and the studio audience for a surprise moment. Five high school students were surprised live on the popular morning news program. They were selected to be part of the exclusive Disney Dreamers Academy and were handed T-shirts featuring the program’s new logo during the surprise moment.
Surprised live on-air were Ayanna Adams from Los Angeles; Christiana Okafor from Houston; Marquis Thomas from Virginia Beach, Virginia; Ava Marie Easter from Los Angeles; and Sean Smith from Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
The students are among 100 extraordinary youths from across the nation announced by Disney today to participate in its immersive, transformational four-day program, March 8-11, at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
The program, which is entering its 11th year with a new “Be100’’ campaign, highlights Walt Disney World Resort’s continued commitment to the next generation of teens by inspiring them at a critical time in their development to make a difference in their lives and to relentlessly pursue and realize their dreams.
Tracey D. Powell says, “Each of these 100 girls and boys has proven themselves to be exceptional as students and as human beings, so it’s an honor to have them join us at Walt Disney World Resort.’’ Powell is Walt Disney World Resort vice president of commercial management – resorts and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion.
She continues, “It is our hope that this potentially life-changing program will help create the next generation of great dreamers and achievers.’’
Participating students, known as “Disney Dreamers,” embark on a journey throughout the Disney theme parks and behind the scenes, turning the vacation destination into a vibrant classroom for students to discover new careers, pursue their dreams and interact with media personality Steve Harvey and other motivational speakers and celebrities. Among the celebrities who have participated in the past are singers Patti LaBelle and Mary J. Blige, NBA legend and business mogul Magic Johnson, gospel music star Yolanda Adams, NFL superstar Cam Newton, plus TV personalities such as “The Chew’’ co-host Carla Hall, “Good Morning America’’ co-anchor Michael Strahan and ABC correspondent T.J. Holmes.
Additionally, students participate in hands-on, immersive career-oriented workshops, ranging from animation to zoology. Each student is given important tools such as effective communication techniques, leadership skills and networking strategies.
Since 2008, Walt Disney World Resort has provided all-expenses-paid trips to more than 1,000 students, plus a parent or guardian, to participate in the annual Disney Dreamers Academy. The students are selected from thousands of applicants who answered a series of essay questions about their personal stories and dreams for the future.