Singer/producer/actress Mary J. Blige, the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” will be the Keynote Speaker as part of the third annual Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey. The event will be held Feb. 11-14 at Walt Disney World Resort.
In partnership with nationally syndicated radio personality Steve Harvey, Walt Disney World Resort will host 100 high school students from across the nation at this year’s academy – giving them unprecedented access to the magic behind Walt Disney World Resort and creating unique, interactive seminars with a wide range of enriching and inspiration topics from “the unseen jobs of entertainment” to “the business of sports” to “the power of networking.”
Blige, whose latest album “Stronger withEach Tear” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts, will speak at the academy’s Commencement Ceremony, a graduation of sorts for the students. Past Keynote Speakers include Judge Greg Mathis and BET Founder Bob Johnson.
Other celebrities scheduled to share their blueprints for success at this year’s academy include R&B star Cupid; actor Roshon Fagen (“Camp Rock”); CNN correspondent Christopher Lawrence; actor Daniel Curtis Lee (“Disney’s Zeke & Luther”); songstress Kimberley Locke; actors Chris (“Zoey 101″) and Kyle (“Cory in the House”) Massey; actress Tamara Mowry (“Sister, Sister”); producer Will Packer (“Stomp The Yard”); singer Ruben Studdard; gospel group Trin-i-tee 5:7; and celebrity trainer Harvey Walden. As in 2009, Sherri Shepherd, actress and co-host of “The View,” will return to host the celebrity conversations. Contemporary gospel star Yolanda Adams will speak at the event’s opening ceremony.
Special sessions for this year’s academy include a unique look inside the newest Disney animated hit “The Princess and the Frog” with Disney animators Bruce Smith and Marlon West. Dwayne Edwards, designer of celebrity shoes for Nike, will share his vision for non-traditional careers in sports. Students with culinary aspirations will get a hands-on tutorial from celebrity chef Jeff Henderson in the Walt Disney World kitchens, and the aspiring gamers of the group will learn practical tips for video game design from digital media expert Jacqueline Beauchamp.
As part of their experience, Disney cast members and executives, along with executives from sponsors Eastman Kodak Company and Jostens, will provide insight and impart real-world experience from corporate America. They will offer an honest, straightforward look at what it takes to get a job in the New Millennium including the importance of technology; the ever-shrinking global workplace and how the combination of hard work and belief in your dreams can accomplish almost any goal. And, of course, the students will get free time to explore Disney’s world-class theme parks and attractions.
“We are very excited and truly honored to have Mary J. Blige as our Keynote Speaker and all of our celebrity participants,” said Tracey Walters, executive champion for Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey. “This year, Walt Disney World is celebrating the volunteer spirit of families throughout the country; and their words will hopefully inspire our students to think about their dreams as conduits not only to help themselves achieve, but to help others as well.”
The Search for 2010’s Dreamers
In conjunction with “The Steve Harvey Morning Show,” Walt Disney World Resort conducted the Dreamer’s Contest to identify the participants, grades 9-12, 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 thousands of aspiring dreamers from across the nation for the program.
“Each year we strive to find young people who may have a will or passion, but may not have the courage to explore their dreams,” said Harvey. “So we hope to unlock the power that will allow them to pursue their heart’s desires. Walt Disney World and I both are excited to be a part of these young dreamers experience that will encourage them to bring their dreams to life.”
Participants in this year’s Disney’s Dreamers Academy class were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including: Harvey; Rushion McDonald (executive producer of “The Steve Harvey Morning Show”); Jasmine Guy (actress, singer and dancer); Sherry Paramore (executive director, UNCF); Rilous Carter (vice president, Disney’s Hollywood Studios); Tracey Walters (director, Theme Parks & Resorts Pricing / executive spokesperson); Nicole Ari Parker Kodjoe (actress/former model); Eduardo Correia (director, Multicultural Marketing, Eastman Kodak Company); Cassi Davis (actress, “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne”); Carla Willis (vice president, Community Relations, Florida A&M University); Will Packer (film producer, co-founder and chairman of Rainforest Films); Stephen A. Smith (sports writer & media personality); Tracy Brown (editor, features/family/education at Atlanta Journal Constitution).
Disney’s Dreamers Academy and Kodak
Disney’s Dreamers Academy events are also made possible by the generosity of Kodak. Kodak sponsors the career workshops “Each One, Teach One!” and provides each participant with a Kodak EasyShare digital camera. As the world’s foremost imaging innovator, Kodak helps consumers, businesses and creative professionals unleash the power of pictures and printing to enrich their lives. To learn more, visit http://www.kodak.com/ and follow our blogs and more at http://www.kodak.com/go/followus. Known for helping people worldwide capture Kodak moments, the company’s current messaging reminds consumers that “real Kodak Moments happen when you share.” More than 75 million people worldwide manage, share and create photo gifts online at KODAK Gallery – join today at www.kodakgallery.com.
Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey was launched in 2007. For more information visit http://steveharvey.com/disneysdreamersacademy/.