Encino teen recognized as Dreamer of the Year during Disney Dreamers Academy mentoring event

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Monday, April 8, 2024
Encino teen receives top honor at Disney Dreamers Academy
David Lopez from Encino has been named the Dreamer of the Year, the top honor at the Disney Dreamers Academy event at Walt Disney World in Florida.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A teenager from Encino has been named the Dreamer of the Year, the top honor at the Disney Dreamers Academy. One-hundred young people from across the country were invited to Walt Disney World in Florida for the mentoring event.

"The sky is truly the limit," said Shannon Smith-Conrad, Walt Disney World Ambassador.

Among these exceptional teens, 15 are from Southern California.

"I'm so shocked by this," said David Lopez, the recipient of Dreamer of the Year. "All the support I've been given is unbelievable."

Other "dreamers" shared what they took away from this experience.

"One thing I'm going to hold on to is always ask for help. And make connections," said Maria Lopez.

"The biggest takeaway is learning a sense of community," said Johannes Austin. "Getting to meet 99 other people from all across the U.S."

"They really just set a road map in my head of how I want to pursue my goals," said Ahmad Saber.

These future doctors and scientists, lawyers and activists, artists and entrepreneurs are energized by mentors who blazed their own trails to success.

"To come here to Disney Dream Academy and share my dream and get more dreams from these young men and women," said Daymond John of " Shark Tank."

"Don't let anyone tell you NO that can't tell you YES," said Dara Renee, Disney Dream Ambassador.

"After this experience, I've gotten a ton of emails, people I'm going to be able to be in contact with even after the program," said Orlando Ecung.

Roshan Shah is looking to the future. "My goal is to get a degree in economics or business, because if I get that, I can go into other fields."

Ricardo Santiago was thrilled to be able to share his Dreamers Academy experience with his mother. "We don't really go on many vacations. We come from a low-income family. So being able to go on this ride with her, it really meant a lot to me."

Congratulations to the 2024 Class of the Disney Dreamers Academy!

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