Four days of fun, sun and celebrities, as well as networking, career workshops and mentoring, were in store for two Long Island teens chosen to take part in the 12th annual Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Chosen from thousands of applicants, Tianna Gonzales of Lake Grove and Kaiya Simmons of Miller Place were part of a group of 100 young people who marched in the Magic Kingdom parade and hobnobed with Steve Harvey, Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth Carter and actor Miles Brown.
Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Kaiya Simmons, 14, moved to Miller Place at the age of 3. A ninth grader at Miss Porter School in Farmington, Connecticut, Kaiya says she enjoys acting, art and science and is currently studying environmental science. “It is fun learning about the environment and different ways to help protect it,” Kaiya says, adding, “I am also learning different techniques to improve my acting on stage and in film.”
After high school, Kaiya hopes to attend Yale University and pursue a career as an OB/GYN, she says.
Tianna Gonzales, a 10th grader at Sachem North High School, is interested in psychology and music and plays saxophone for the school’s marching band, orchestra and band. Other school activities include track, Model United Nations, foreign language and art club honor societies. “Once I graduate, I plan to purse a career in the film world, hopefully attending New York University or New York Film Academy,” she says. “Through storytelling, we can shape this century to be an even stronger magnet for societal change.”
The Dreamers Academy is aimed at helping to inspire young people during a critical time of their development,
“Our goal is to help them see the unlimited possibilities and to inspire them to achieve their full purpose — to become the heroes of their own stories,” says Tracey D. Powell, vice president of Walt Disney World Resort.