Disney selects fifteen Shining Stars for truly showcasing what it means to both “dream” and “do”
As one fifth grader was walking to lunch, she noticed her school’s cafeteria helpers sitting on a curb to eat their own lunches. Right then, she decided she would host a fundraiser to raise money to buy them a table of their own. An eighth grader, who was born premature, speaks to parents and families of premature newborns at local hospitals to let them know everything is going to be okay. Another student left Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria, and now helps other evacuee students learn English and become more comfortable in their new community.
These three students are among this year’s Disney Dreamers and Doers who stood out because of their willingness to go above and beyond to share their extraordinary character with the world around them.
“These Shining Stars are a reminder of the incredible impact an individual can have on their own little corner of the world,” said Rena Langley, senior vice president of Public Affairs for Walt Disney World Resort. “These students may be some of the youngest members of our community today, but their big hearts, kind words and inspiring actions are the future of our community.”
First established in 1984, the Disney Dreamers and Doers program recognizes young people who demonstrate excellence in school, at home, and in the community. This year, nearly 400 students in Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk and Seminole counties were chosen by their school principals as Disney Dreamers and Doers for consistently and uniquely demonstrating their compassion, empathy and creativity. From this year’s Dreamers and Doers, 15 Shining Stars were selected as the best of the best for truly showcasing what it means to both “dream” and “do.”
The 2018 Disney Dreamers and Doers Shining Stars are:
- Presli Sickels, Sawgrass Bay Elementary, 4th grade
Presli founded Kindness Kids, a project that helps distribute crayons, coloring books and more to those in need.
- Samantha Sapp, Lake Preparatory, 8th grade
Samantha is always looking for ways to give back through acts of kindness, whether it’s cleaning up after Hurricane Irma or collecting and donating food items.
- Jasmine Ramjeet, Leesburg High School, 11th grade
Through her active community advocacy to reverse blood shortages, Jasmine spends time teaching her peers about the power of giving back in this unique way and has inspired more than 730 donations.
- Marissa Romeu, Prairie Lake Elementary, 5th grade
Marissa led a fundraising campaign so her school cafeteria staff could have their own lunch table instead of eating on the curb, and works as a safety patrol each day to welcome fellow students to school.
- Maya Tharoo, Windermere Preparatory School, 8th grade
Maya was born 12-weeks early and now visits and volunteers at hospitals to provide comfort, hope and strength to families of pre-term babies during their difficult time.
- Evan Lorenzana, Colonial High School, 11th grade
Evan is the president of his school’s Key Club and is strengthening his own leadership skills through helping others. He dreams of founding an organization to help adults with special needs.
- Olivia Siegel, First United Methodist School, 4th grade
Olivia spends time with ailing family members to keep their spirits up. She has prepared food packages for hurricane survivors and now plans to open her own food pantry one day.
- Gabriella Dali-Rivera, Florida Cyber Charter Academy, 8th grade
Gabriella loves the arts, and shares her passion for music, dance and visual arts with other children in her neighborhood who may not experience it otherwise.
- Juliet Cahow, Osceola County School for the Arts, 12th grade
After being diagnosed with depression as a freshman, Juliet founded Positiviti, a group dedicated to creating safe spaces on school campuses for students to gather and discuss positive body image and bullying.
- Grayce Wuesthoff, Boswell Elementary, 5th grade
Grace’s family struggled for many years. She encouraged them all to volunteer together, which ultimately led them to discovering resources that could help their own family and they have since qualified for a house of their own.
- Audrey Link, Resurrection Catholic Middle, 6th grade
Audrey recently won an art contest to raise money for missing children. She has since advocated to raising awareness for missing children in Central Florida.
- Maria Del Carmen Martinez, Mulberry Senior High School, 11th grade
Maria grew up in a migrant worker camp and was separated from her parents. Today she supports her two siblings and gives back to others in need, including distributing much-needed items to residents of mobile home parks after Hurricane Irma.
- Jeremy Garcia-Abreu, Carillon Elementary School, 5th grade
After being evacuated from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, Jeremy struggled with English. Now, his English has improved so much that he has decided to help other Spanish-speaking students at his school.
- Sydney Gross, Galileo Gifted School, 8th grade
Sydney makes a point to say something uplifting and positive about her peers each day, hoping to inspire them to accept their true selves and to mitigate the influence of social media.
- Amber Lim, The Master’s Academy, 11th grade
After learning about water scarcity, Amber dedicates her time to spreading awareness of the issue amongst her peers. She also organized a fundraiser for her high school that will help to build a well in Haiti.
Disney Dreamers and Doers Shining Stars receive a Walt Disney World Resort Annual Pass for themselves and each member of their immediate family, a special Mickey Mouse statue known as a “Mousecar” and a matching gold medallion commemorating their honor. To further celebrate their incredible achievements, the students and their families will be treated to an Incredible Summer night at Epcot, complete with a dessert party and special fireworks viewing.
The Disney Dreamers and Doers program is just one of the ways Walt Disney World Resort actively supports youth development and education in the Central Florida community. Since its inception, more than 14,000 local students have received this special honor in recognition of their character and exceptional achievements. In the past year, Disney provided grants for local school districts and early learning coalitions. In addition, Cast Members donated more than $200,000 worth of back-to-school supplies benefiting more than 70,000 local students to schools in all five counties.