jordin sparks & minnie mouse*Singer and burgeoning actress Jordin Sparks surprised the 100 youth during the commencement ceremony of the 5th Annual Disney Dreamers Academy Sunday (3-11-12) at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fl. – with advice on following their dreams.

She told them the story of how she was turned down twice when auditioning for “American Idol” before winning in 2007.  Sparks also performed her hit “One Step at a Time” for the 100 Dreamers.

Sparks also took questions from the audience of inspired teens – one of which was how it felt to work with Whitney Houston in her upcoming film “Sparkle.” Here’s her response:

“It was incredible to even be around her – she was such a sweet woman.  Something that I found out was that when she did ‘The Bodyguard’ she was 22, the same age that I am now and Kevin Costner was so sweet to her and was so kind and just really wanted to mentor her and give her an amazing experience on her first film – and I found out that she wanted to do the same for me cause it was my first and it was something that I was nervous about and she really did that…”  Sparks went on to share with the young Dreamer that in serious scenes Whitney would have a little fun with her by making faces at her to try and make her crack.”

On being able to inspire the Dreamers at the fifth annual Disney’s Dreamers Academy, Sparks said:

“To be able to take my story and tell it to somebody and for them to go ‘I think I’m going to be OK’ … it’s an amazing thing! And the cool thing about it is there’s the select few that are chosen for Disney’s Academy but their gonna tell their friends about it …and it’s this huge domino effect and pretty soon you have all these kids and teenagers that know and think that they can do whatever they set their minds to … and it all starts here.”

Below, you can HEAR what Jordin had to say about Whitney, inspiring young people and more:

The 5th Annual Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence took placed from March 8-11 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  For more information on the program head over to, and

jordin sparks (disney- dreamers)