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

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

    Andre Johnson of D.C. Courtesy Photo
    Mary Carmen Alice and Brenda Disney reps who were assigned to Dreamer attendees as escorts and ambassadors Courtesy Photo

    Lee related to Harvey€s words. €People say how bad Trinidad is, but my mom and dad tell me not to bring what I see into our house. Where we live doesn€t make us who we are. My mom heard about the program on the show and my parents are very supportive of me.€

    Attending a private, worldwide, press-only premiere and party for the opening of the new American Idol Experience at Disney was amongst the numerous surprises for the Dreamers. Not only did the Dreamers interact with all the Idols, they were treated to performances by Cupid (Cupid Shuffle) and got face time with influential executives from Disney, Kodak, the aviation and medical fields, plus celebrities like Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell, James Pickens of €Grey€s Anatomy€, Judge Greg Mathis and Chef Jeff Henderson, of Food Network, who hosted Dreamers in the kitchen to help prepare one of the dinner buffets. Josten€s class rings engraved with Harvey€s signature and the teen€s name, souvenir jackets, business cards, Kodak digital cameras were some of the gifts the students received.

    Steve urged the Dreamers not to €squander this opportunity. Show some appreciation. We (Harvey€s generation) didn€t have this type of shot. This would have done wonders for me if someone had done this for me as a teenager. I didn€t even go to Disneyworld as a kid. We didn€t have money for that. Wasn€t no driving down here. Someone€s flying you down here for free. Find the motivation to make something out of this weekend.€

    Andre Johnson, 16, mentors through Youth Leadership Greater Washington, DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. His personal focus is teaching academic growth and has testified before City Council about teen violence and pregnancy. Johnson cites seven years of support from Joyce Clemons and Mary Brown, organizers of Life Pieces to Masterpieces, an arts program for Ward 7 residents, as a prime motivation in his life. Ms. Clemons nominated him for the Academy and accompanied Johnson to Orlando.

    €Every person who€s talked this weekend has said not to give up your dreams because if you do, you won€t be alive. My dream is to be a better leader for the upcoming youth in Washington, D.C. and to be a sports caster. I got to interview Antwaan Randle El, and he said I was very good, so that was incredible,€ Johnson said.

    Harvey shared many personal sentiments with his Dreamers. €I€ve talked to T.I., Denzel [Washington], Magic Johnson and we sit down, we talk and start crying talking about what€s really going on in our lives. You€d be stunned to know what€s happening in our lives. The struggles we have to go through to get to this level of success---it ain€t fittin€ to be easy. If it was everyone would be successful. Get ready to go through war. Get ready to do extra.€