Rolling Out

3 gifted Black high school students prove the future is female

Disney Dreamers Academy offers opportunity for young people to follow their dreams
Drum Major Mickey Mouse leads a jubilant parade at Magic Kingdom Park, accompanied by 100 students who are part of the Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Disney Dreamers Academy is a mentorship event hosted annually by Walt Disney World Resort to foster the dreams of 100 Black students and teens from underrepresented communities around the country. (Photo credit: Mark Ashman)

Lay Beasley, Julia Andrews and Hannah Dennis were selected to be a part of the esteemed 2024 Disney Dreamers Academy. Besides being in high school and receiving a life-changing opportunity to participate in the national camp, Beasley, Andews and Dennis are convinced they can change their world.

Dennis is a 15-year-old freshman at Elite Scholars Academy in Atlanta. While her classmates are enjoying football games, social media challenges and pep rallies, Dennis is focused on providing information and solutions for mental health issues within her community. She envisions her career being split between being a pilot and psychologist because she feels there are not enough resources for young people struggling with mental health issues. Dennis has hosted events promoting self-defense and mental health awareness with the Southern Black Girls Consortium.

“I joined an aerospace camp and fell in love with flying. My favorite plane is a Boeing 737 because that’s the first plane I landed at the camp and I know that I want to be a pilot. I have always been interested in the brain and how it works. earned that a lot of pilots have a medical background and so I realized those two careers can go together,” Dennis says.

Like Dennis, Andrews is committed to solving a nationwide challenge. As a sophomore at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., she has already started working on solutions to the homelessness issue in DC and around the country. Andrews says she wants to become an architect in order to design housing for low income families that accommodates their needs and utilizes environmentally friendly materials.

“I believe every family deserves a home that is beautiful and eco-friendly. I think a lot of the housing today is not up to date. Families need better bathrooms, bedrooms and need to have access to great food supplies. Many people have to settle for housing in bad neighborhoods that don’t have access to food, etc.,” Andrew explains.

Beasley is also concerned about the homelessness issue in America. The freshman at Trinity Leadership Public School in Texas believes that homelessness today is due in part to inflation and the government not taking a proactive role in protecting U.S. citizens.

“When I see homelessness it bothers me because I don’t believe a lot of homeless people don’t have the resources or adequate housing to accommodate them. I believe we need to create neighborhoods for women and children and then others separately so that we can build communities but focus on everyone’s individual needs,” Beasley says.

Beasley volunteers at a local elderly home and says she divides her time by reading to the residents there and volunteering with her church to feed the unhoused in her community.

All three young women are passionate about community and are grateful to Disney for bringing them together to fuel their dreams. Andrews says she appreciates the Disney Dreamers Academy showing her that young people really can make a difference.

“Coming here has inspired me to keep pursuing my dream and vision for better options for families in need,” Andrews says.

For more information on Disney Dreamers Academy, visit

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Rolling Out