Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Traveling to a place where dreams really do come true

This week, we hear from two area teens selected from thousands across the nation to participate in Steve Harvey's Disney's Dreamers Academy in Orlando.

The program, held in March at the Walt Disney World Resort, aims to provide youth with the opportunity to learn how they can make their dreams come true.

During the four-day program, 100 high school students participated in career workshops and networked with professional mentors.

Savannah Barnwell, a rising sophomore at Myers Park High and Jerri Gaddie, a recent graduate at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, were two of the Charlotte-area teens selected for this year's experience.

"I think it's a life-changing experience," Jerri said of the program. 

While in Florida, the teens participated in "deep dive" sessions where they explored career options and learned how to achieve their career goals. Session topics are centered around entertainment, the medical field, entrepreneurship, culinary arts and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Teens also had the chance to hear career success stories from celebrities including Sean Kingston, Soledad O'Brien and Jordin Sparks.

The biggest lesson they learned: "Don't let anyone tell you that you can't because they will," Savannah said.

As for their futures, Jerri will attend Winston-Salem State University in the fall with plans to study physical therapy. Savannah said it is her goal to one day attend Duke University and become a doctor.

Photo: Savannah Barnwell at the Disney's Dreamers Academy. Photo courtesy of Savannah Barnwell.