ORLAND, Fla – Teens bid an emotional farewell at the commencement ceremony on the final day of the Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World on Sunday.
The four-day event concluded with a ceremony breakfast that featured speeches from Disney Signature Experiences Vice President and Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion Tracy Powell, Disney Dreamer alum Princeton Parker, journalist Kelley Carter and a performance by Mali Music.
R&B superstar Kelly Rowland served as the Celebrity Ambassador for the Disney Dreamers Academy and spoke to the students about reaching their goals and the importance of what they learned over the weekend.
“If you are being honest with yourself about who you are and living unapologetically, authentically as the best version of yourself, you can discover all of the possibilities that lie ahead,” Rowland said to the students. “Dreams without goals are just dreams.”
Also highlighted during the ceremony was a new initiative involving Black colleges. The Disney Dreamers Academy, in partnership with ESPN’s The Undefeated and GRAMMY-nominated rap artist Cordae, is awarding college scholarships to 11 students from underrepresented communities attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
At Sunday’s commencement ceremony, motivational speakers and mentors gave their final words of advice to the Dreamers before going home. The teens were encouraged to take what they learned and share it with their peers.
The ceremony ended with the parents giving the Dreamers rings as a symbol of their achievement and their pledge to strive for greatness.
The Disney Dreamers Academy is once-in-a-lifetime educational and mentoring program for a select group of 100 high school students. The students were selected from thousands of applicants nationwide.
Along with a parent or guardian, each teen received an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort, where they learned important networking skills and participated in hands-on career workshops.