It’s true when they say that the kids are the future!

Over four days earlier this month, 100 high school students nationwide got to participate in the 2024 Disney Dreamers Academy, the well-renowned career and leadership development program. Selected students had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to sit in career and personal development sessions designed to inspire them to dream big and execute their dreams.

The Disney Dreamers enjoyed workshops with speakers from industries such as business, entertainment and sciences, plus even career opportunities within The Walt Disney Company. While there, celebrity mentors such as actor Lance Gross, funnyman Rickey Smiley and Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross shared advice.

“I want to be a psychologist and also do aerospace,” said Hannah Daniels from Atlanta, Georgia when Blavity spoke to three of the participants. “I want to be a pilot. So, I recently talked to some pilots while here at DDA. It definitely helped me learn some more about the industry. And my peers here at DDA are pretty positive. Some of them have the same aspirations as me, so we talk to each other about what our goals are.

Norfolk, Virginia’s Elijah Moore said, “My overall goal is to be a music engineer and an artist, and just kind of working in content creation. Being here so far, I got to meet a lot of celebrities, and I actually got to get interviewed by Rickey Smiley, which was really cool. And I am part of the DDA film crew for the four days that I am here. So I am actively producing content for this DDA class.”

Trynnady Aldrige from Demopolis, Alabama added, “We learned here that the shots that you miss are the ones you don’t take. And I put my name out there, and it’s been fine. This program has been great because I want to own my own bakery-making chain. Culinary is my focus. Realistically, I know the culinary degree first probably would not help me get where I want to go. I can always cook without a degree. But I’m also passionate about marketing and other media stuff. I edit yearbooks and stuff like that, and so I want to start out by making sure I have great marketing skills and then transfer all my publicity experience to my baking business so that it can be successful.”

Speaking about the experience, Aldridge explained, “It’s a good experience, and you need to be here to help reach your goals. I am surrounded by people that are great in so many places. Usually, I am just the only Black girl in these kind of rooms. And now I get to see my people doing what we do. It’s been great.” Expressing similar sentiments, Daniels said, “You can learn a lot. You can meet new people; you can network; you can talk to people who are doing great things and are being successful at careers that you want to do, and it gives you more information.”