Written by Niani Scott
I have always seen myself as a one-of-a-kind dreamer, believer, and achiever, but when measured against 10,000 Disney Dreamers Academy (DDA) applicants, it’s surreal to know that I am one of the select 100.
Among this magnificent top 1%, four DDA students were selected to receive The Steve Harvey Scholarship for the academy. Catlin, Montgomery, Carlos Marmlejo, Matt Henderson, and I were the blessed four and we’ve had opportunities to share in a unique bonding experience. Our days, though full, enriching, and amazing have also been especially demanding.
For me, this has meant sometimes working at 4am and often burning the midnight oil to fulfill my responsibilities to a program that has offered me the world. “This program has taught me that dreams require action and confidence, and without those things it won’t be possible to achieve what you’re capable of,” said Montgomery, a 16-year-old Disney Dreamer from Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Over the DDA weekend, I had a bird’s eye view of what it takes for Mr. Harvey and his team to bring his radio show to life. On Friday morning I attended the live taping of the show and ha the unbelievable experience of also being interviewed on the show by Mr. Harvey himself, as the representative of the DDA Class of 2014.
In addition, I was the first Dreamer to ever be invited to perform at the Female Empowerment Session, “The Essence of You,” and was introduced by Mikki Taylor, Editor at Large at ESSENCE Magazine. I have been interviewed by journalists from numerous media outlets, worked with producers, writers and social media coordinators from television, and did radio and print media.
Honestly, I often felt like I was receiving the “red carpet” treatement. From networking with speakers and Dreamers to working with camera crews and make-up artists to absorbing wisdom of teachers and leaders. Disney Dreamers Academy has helped chart the course for my future.
A week ago, these types of experiences were merely dreams. This weekend, they became my reality. I realized that it all starts with a dream–and no dream is too big.
It is also confirmation that every dream must be followed by goals, plans, preparation, and execution.
I have learned that I must push myself to get the most out of every minute of every day. Like Steve Harvey says, “A dream without action is just sleep!”
One of the most powerful and meaningful aspects of this experience is that our stories are being told in a way that will help inspire someone else to go after their dreams!