Prince Edward County student becomes Disney Dreamer

Published 12:18 am Thursday, March 21, 2024

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Ella Estes is going to Disney this spring. Now as exciting as that sounds, the Prince Edward County High student isn’t going to see Mickey or ride roller coasters. Instead, she’s headed to the Disney Dreamers Academy, working to be a future leader. 

Disney officials describe the Academy as a place where you can “let your dream take flight”. Disney opens applications to high school students across the country every year, selecting 100 of them. Those students then work with mentors, be they celebrities, business leaders or authors, over a four-day event. They go through career workshops, to understand what their options are in a chosen field. They also focus on developing skills, learning how to interview for a position, network and dress for success. The goal here is to help students follow in the footsteps of Walt Disney by figuring out their own path in life and what being a leader means to them. 

Prince Edward County student eyes politics

And this year, one of those students comes from Farmville. Ella Estes is an 11th-grader whose dream is to work in politics, specifically on the national level.

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“I would love to work with national level politics,” Estes said. “I’ve always been interested in politics since as long as I can remember. I would love to work in the Senate and I would also just love to run for president cause why wouldn’t I?” 

She came across the Academy idea through an ad on Spotify and then put together the application and everything needed. Estes said a future in politics drew her so that her voice could be heard. And more than that, so she could help make the country a better, safer place where everyone feels represented. 

But to do that, first Estes said she needs to learn, which the Academy can help her with. 

“I am hoping to learn and grow,” Estes said. “I am hoping to gain connections with people who are already in politics.”

A chance to learn 

The Prince Edward County student, who wants to study political science at Barnard College, said she feels the Dreamers Academy would help her develop as a leader. It would also improve her career skills by allowing the “opportunity to meet lots of people”. 

Disney officials fly the 100 members of this year’s class to the Academy for free, along with their parent. They also get a free hotel stay and after the Academy is over, then it’s time to see the sights, as they get free theme park tickets. 

“I was thrilled to hear about Ella’s selection for the Disney Dreamers Academy,” said Prince Edward High Principal Gwendolyn McQuaige-Hicks. “This is such awesome news! It truly

warms my spirit! I am so very proud of Ella; she is an inspiration to us all.”