Spotlight: Disney dreamer earns Steve Harvey Scholarship

Many vacation at Walt Disney World, but Niani Scott’s trip last month was much more than a spring break.

The 15-year-old Bolingbrook resident was one of 100 high school students from around the country selected to take part in the seventh annual Disney Dreamers Academy, an innovative, educational and mentoring program at the legendary theme park.

“I am incredibly proud to have been allowed to represent the Disney Dreamers Academy class of 2014 on the radio and on television, and I was blessed to receive a college scholarship as well,” said Scott, a sophomore at Chicago Hope Academy.

Scott was chosen from among 10,000 applications for a spot in the academy, and was one of four to receive the Steve Harvey Scholarship. In addition to having a camera crew pay a visit to her Bolingbrook home, she worked with producers and the crew to document her Disney experience, and even appeared on the Harvey’s radio broadcast.

“Disney Dreamers Academy gives hope and inspiration and exposes youth to a world of possibilities,” Harvey said in a Disney press release. “We are excited about another opportunity to transform lives and give students and inside look at what their future can hold.”

The academy’s mission is to “inspire and fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for the future.” Over a course of four days, Scott and fellow students participated in hands-on workshops related to a variety of potential career paths, and were encouraged to “dream big.”

For Scott, an aspiring journalist, it did just that.

“Working with editors from ESSENCE magazine to write and publish my own article about my Disney Dreamers Academy journey was incredible,” the teen said. “I loved being on the Steve Harvey morning show; getting the behind-the-scenes look at how things are done, being interviewed live and getting a taste of the ‘red carpet’ treatment was fun and great learning experience.”

It seems the Magic Kingdom has lived up to its name, once again.