*The selection process for the nationwide search to attend an innovative learning environment at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida is over and 100 lucky contestants are headed to Disney to attend the 2010 Walt Disney’s Dreamers Academy with nationally syndicated radio personality, comedian and author, Steve Harvey.

The event, which will take place February 11-14, 2010, during Black History Month, marks the fourth successful collaboration between Disney and Harvey.

This program was created for high school students who show promise – but may need additional motivational support to excel.  However, they must all share a common characteristic — the power to dream.

The dreamers and a guardian will attend the magical event and will participate in a planned itinerary that includes interactive workshops focusing on a variety of subjects including Walt Disney Imagineering techniques, entertainment, the business of sports, culinary arts, and more.  In addition, Disney cast members, executives and celebrities will share their blueprints for success with tomorrow’s budding leaders.

For fun, the dreamers will be given “easy passage” to Disney’s theme parks.  The four-day event will culminate with a graduation ceremony where a special guest will deliver a motivational address.

Steve Harvey

“This year Walt Disney World is celebrating the volunteer spirit of families throughout the country; and the 2010 Disney’s Dreamers Academy, With Steve Harvey is about more than just motivating students to follow their own dreams,” said Tracy Walters, Disney Marketing Executive.  “We hope to inspire these young adults to take what they learn back to their communities and help others realize their dreams.”

In partnership with The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Walt Disney World conducted the Dreamer’s Contest to select the participants, grades 9-12, in Disney’s Dreamers Academy.

The judges screened thousands of applications from hopeful dreamers sent in by parents, teachers, school administrators, church groups and even the students themselves.

Each year the judges’ selection process gets harder and harder as the contestants’ stories are more and more compelling.

“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 hearts 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.”

Five New York-area teens were chosen to be part of the one-of-a-kind career training program taking place at one of the world’s most creative classrooms -– the Walt Disney World Resort.  The lucky dreamers are:

Angela Birt – 16 years old – International Arts and Business School (Brooklyn, NY) – Birt describes herself as “quiet but fierce.” After the initial hardship, her mother’s death last year challenged her to improve her grades. Her dreams include becoming a fashion designer and to help kids who have been sexually abused and mentor kids who have lost their mother.

Tiana M. Brooks – 15 years old – University High School (Newark, NJ) – Despite living in a neighborhood where even her friends have succumbed to the pressures of teen pregnancy and drugs has managed to become an Honors Student, working to graduate at the top of her class. Her dream is to attend college and become a psychiatrist.

Shanece Brown – 17 years old – World Journalism Preparatory School (Cambria Heights, NY) – After her mother died when she was eight, Shanece, moved to NY to live with aunt who has since raised her. After an initially-difficult transition, she is now taking advanced-placement classes and earned her school’s President’s Award for Academic Achievement at end of eighth grade. Shanece’s dream is to be an actress.

Bryan Hinds – 17 years old – James Madison High School (Brooklyn, NY) – An aspiring entrepreneur, Hinds has already completed dual internship at a Federal Reserve Bank, working in two different divisions. He is also talented in photography, manages his school’s basketball team and works in school college office. Hinds’ dream is to be CEO of Fortune 500 Company.

Kyla Hunter – 16 years old – Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies (Brooklyn, NY) – Hunter has helped make a garden out of a trash filled lot in her Brooklyn, NY neighborhood. Her dream is to become a “positive icon” in the media.

This year’s distinguished panel of judges included: Rushion McDonald (executive producer of the Steve Harvey Morning Show); Jasmine Guy (Actress, Singer & Dancer); Sherry Paramore (Executive Director, UNCF); Rilous Carter (VP, 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 (VP, Community Relations, Florida A&M University); Will Packer (Film Producer, Co-Founder & Chairman of Rainforest Films); Stephen A. Smith (Sports Writer & Media Personality); and Tracy Brown (Editor, Features Family Education at Atlanta Journal Constitution).

Presenting the 2010 graduating class of dreamers from the Dreamer’s Academy with Steve Harvey:  Keylan Aaron, Lafayette, LA; Howard Andrews, New Ellenton, SC; Ashley Arkhurst, Liverpool, NY; Reginald Ayala, Detroit, MI; Angela Birt, Brooklyn, NY; Robert Blakey, Suitland, MD; Jamila Bonner, Accokeek, MD; Chase Book, Plantation, FL; Nicholas Bradley, Chicago, IL; Tiana Brooks, Newark, NJ; Shanece Brown, Cambria Hts, NY; LaTrevia Burnette  Ft Worth, TX; Taylor Butler, Norwalk CA Allison Butler, Lutz FL; Morgan Cager, Memphis TN; Lauren Chamberlain, Lakewood, CA; Cecily Charles, Pearland, TX; Morrissa Clement, Greenville, SC; NaJarae Cooper, Sicklerville, NJ; Nicole Cunningham, Simpsonville, SC; Andreniki Dawson, Jacksonville, FL; Kiara Dixon, Alabaster, AL; Edmund Dyson, Leesburg, GA; and DiKembe Ester, Lithonia, GA.

Also Deanna Evans, Fairmont, NC; Jada Fersner, Orangeburg, SC; Elexis Fletcher, Spring Hill, TN; Ashley Geiger, Columbia, SC; Dominique Giles, Stafford, VA; Naja Goodwin, Bridgeport, CT; Angela Graham, Philadelphia, PA; Carmalyn Grant, Jacksonville, FL; Anissa Gunn, Birmingham, AL; Jamie Guy, Memphis, TN; Dalonte Hall, Southfield, MI; Erik Hamlet, Parkville, MD; Okneca Hamptonie, Tacoma, WA; David Harris, St Petersburg, FL; Christina Harris, Tampa, FL; Dontez Hazzard, Adamsville, AL; Brenton Hill, Hampton, VA; Brian Hinds, Brooklyn, NY; Graig Hunter, Alexandria, VA; Kyla Hunter, Brooklyn, NY; DeJa Jackson, Jacksonville, FL; Brooke Jackson, Winter Park, FL; Savannah Jackson, Norman, OK; Lehman Jernigan, Norfolk, VA; Christopher Johnson Charlotte, NC; and Ebony Johnson, Fayetteville, NC.

And Thomas Johnson, Princeton, NJ; Malcolm Johnson, Los Angeles, CA; Brooklyn Jones, Harpersville AL; Tamecia Jones, Nashville TN; Ebony Killingsworth, Miami Gardens ,FL; Nyomi Louis-Jean, Milwaukee, WI; Lasean Lyles Jr, Chicago, IL; Dejanay McCauley, Stone Mountain, GA; Quincy McCray, Hampton, VA; Brandon McCulloch, Concord, NC; Joshua Menendez, Port St John, FL; Terry Mickel, Rock Hill, SC; Montresa Milford, Opelika, AL; Dominique Moore, Southfield, MI; Raven Murphy, Waldorf, MD; Michael Owens, Washington, DC; Anthony Oxendine, Sumter, SC; Marcus Palmer, Hampton, VA; Keri Parker, New Orleans, LA; Asilah Patterson, Champagne, IL; Jordan Randles, Lilburn, GA; Aaron Robinson, Acworth, GA; Faasha Royal, Raleigh, NC; and Lashawnda Sanderson Lincoln Park,MI.

Lastly, Sierra Scales, Wilmington, DE; Jada Scott, Ft Washington, MD; Dellan Sellers, Lanham, MD; Nicolas Simms, Duluth, GA; Brianna Smith, Birmingham, AL; Lindsay Smith-Isreal, Silver Spring, MD; Deshawn Stewart, Norfolk, VA; Yancey Styles, Clermont, FL; Ruben Thomas, Lutz, FL; Sharron Townsend, Hershey, PA; Ashley Tucker, Moyock, NC; Briana Vannoy, Stone Mountain, GA; Dorrien Waiters, Palmetto, FL; Asia Wakefield, Memphis, TN; Tatiana Ward, Carrollton, GA; Keon Ward, Sharon Hill, PA; Johnquetta Webb, Hendersonville, TN; Nicole White, Milwaukee, WI; Tobias Whitley, Upper Marlboro, MD; Qoren Williams, Stallings, NC; Jasmine Williams, Philadelphia, PA; Tershawna Wingate, Bryan’s Road, MD; Kalisia Winkey, Chester, VA; Charmaine Woody, Macon, GA; Jenelle Young, N Lauderdale, FL; and Dennis Young Jr, Spring City, PA

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.