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Area teens learned the steps to success at Disney€s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey

Lucinda Hughes | 2/19/2009, 3:49 p.m.


These V.I.P.€s were 100 nationwide high school students selected through a contest on the Steve Harvey Morning Show, for the second Disney€s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey held over President€s Day weekend, Feb. 12-15. Dreamers and a guardian won a trip to Orlando Disney to be transformed by four days of seminars, motivational talks and workshops designed to give them tools to rise above challenges in their homes, neighborhoods or physical disabilities and to see that their dreams have validity and can come true.
Dozens of celebrities like Terrence J of BET€s 106 and Park, president, Bethune-Cookman University, Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed and retired NBA star and television analyst Steve Smith gathered at Harvey€s home to read 4,000 letters nominating students for the Dreamers Academy, choosing two District residents, Andre Johnson of McKinley Tech and Clarence Lee III, who attends St. John€s College High School. Maryland also had several winners: Wesley Jackson of Laurel High School, Bowie teen, Meghan Hodge, of Annapolis Area Christian, Hyattsville resident, Ebony Fletcher, of Clinton Christian and Chaney Xavier, of Waldorf€s Westlake High School.

€I opened the letter and thought it was a rejection at first, but it said I got accepted. It came a couple of weeks before Christmas, so I told my mom I didn€t need anything for Christmas because this was the best present,€ said eleventh grader, Clarence Lee III, nominated by his mentor, Charles Montgomery III, who highlighted the teen€s leadership qualities and his work with the D.C. Youth Advisory Council . Lee was salutatorian in eighth grade and started thinking about his career, which was his goal for this trip. €I was hoping to meet people in the sports arena and I did. I met sports figures, Carlos Flemings, the agent for Venus and Serena Williams and Washington Redskins wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. I also wanted to broaden my horizons for careers, and here, I met many in other professions.€

Saturday€s one-on-one rap session with Harvey set the tone for the activities ahead. €There€s one word that changes the word ordinary, €extra€, which makes extraordinary. It€s going to require extra all the time. If you don€t want to do extra, you fittin€ to be regular, ordinary.€ Harvey praised many in his life who where €ordinary€, but were role models in his life. €Sit back, relax and chill, don€t plan, don€t dream, you€re fittin€ to be ordinary. You€ll have a regular life and there€s nothing wrong with that. Regular people are the foundation of my success. But if you want to be extraordinary, listen up.€

Harvey told the kids €All I wanted was for my parents to see me successful so I could give them something back. I got in trouble hanging with these two dudes and I wasn€t even that kind of kid. My teacher, Gray Davis, came to my house in a time when White people didn€t walk down my street. He told my parents, €your kid can be something if you just help him dream.€€