Dreamers Dream. Meet 4 Inspiring Teens From Disney Dreamers Academy #ddaDisney

Almost three weeks later and I am still on a high from the 10th Annual Disney Dreamers Academy that took place in Walt Disney World!

Over the coming weeks, I will continue to share insights and interviews experienced during the course of this magical weekend.

If you missed my previous posts, you can check them out here, here and here. This post will focus on 4 inspiring teens that I got to chat one-on-one with at the Disney Dreamers Academy.

Meet Holly Rieping – Colorado Springs, CO

Holly’s Big Dream is to Major in Computer Science & Computer Engineering and Minor in Cinematic Arts. She really wants to combine that STEAM with film and production.

Also related: Walt Disney World & Engineering: They Go Together

Holly got into University of Sothern California early and waiting to hear from a few other choices including Stanford.

The DDA Advantage: all the experiences from the different speakers; You don’t get these opportunities anywhere else. It’s great to be able to ask advice, and take notes. She really appreciated the personal connections with the speakers and resource group.

What does being a Dreamer mean to you? Last year (taken from bio)

Experience in —– was her first exposure to the idea of working at Walt Disney World in post-production. She got to see visual editing up close and really loved it.

Holly and I on the #ddaDisney red carpet

Meet Jahre Fish – Baltimore, MD

By Day 2, Jahre shared that his experience had been an amazing one so far at DDA. One of the coolest things he shared for him was meeting people so far with different dreams and views, but how they’re all connected in some way.

He also shared that the speakers and resources are one of a kind, and it was truly a highlight for him.

His biggest takeaway he wants you to know: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. “It was a great reminder that if you never try then you’ll never know. So I’d rather take my chances and miss some. But I’ll be better knowing that I tried.”

Jahre will be heading to Mississippi Sate. His big dream is to play professional football. He said he always wanted to play football. His ultimate goal is to go to the NFL. But he also wants to study business and finances.

Jahre and I. He really was excited when we chatted #promise 😉

Meet Nia Allen – Norcross, GA

I was intrigued with Nia’s story because she has a strong interest in becoming a pilot (and I learned that she’s already been flying plane y’all).

She said she knew from a very early age that she wanted to be a pilot because at the age of 2 or 3 years old, her mom used to take them to watch the planes. They used to sit on top of the car and wave as the planes flew by.

She claimed it when she was about 8 years old when she met a female co-pilot. And she immediately thought to herself: if she can be the co-pilot, then I want to be THE pilot (I know that’s right, Nia!).

Nia Allen may just be the captain on one of your future flights

Nia started flying at 14 years old and has been flying ever since and she absolutely loves it. She’s a member of several different organizations such as Women In Aviation. She also just completed her first solo flight this past summer (#BlackGirlMagic).

Nia is a senior in high school and a freshman in college (yup). So when she graduates this year, she will have already acquired 28 college credits! 28.college.credits. That is a full year plus ahead of the game!

I can’t wait to see where Nia soars to because I know she is going to do amazing things.

Nia and I on the #ddaDisney red carpet

Meet Rodney Belcher – Plano, TX

I was interested in chatting with Rodney because as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my son (he’s 9) has already expressed interest in engineering (mechanical). So I was excited to hear Rodney’s story.

He is a senior in high school and is the caption of his Robotics team. I just loved hearing Rodney’s passion for engineering and coding. His excitement when he spoke was contagious.

Rodney’s big dream is to be a Cybersecurity Officer in the Air Force.

He really enjoyed the engineering deep dive, and although it was only Day 2 when we spoke, he was really excited about the experience. He felt that it was giving him an advantage and a unique experience he wouldn’t have received elsewhere.

His smile was so bright he needed his own photo 🙂

Our world is about to get a little bit safer with Rodney stepping into his Dreams!

Rodney and I on the #ddaDisney red carpet

Congrats again to the Disney Dreamers Academy Class of 2017! While I wish there had been more time to chat with more of these exceptional teens, I’m so glad I was able to snag a few minutes with Jahre, Nia, Holly and Rodney.

Photo Credit: Disney Dreamers Academy


This visit to attend the Disney Dreamers Academy was sponsored by Walt Disney World. As always, the thoughts and opinions are my own.

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