Local student attends renowned conference at Disney World | UToledo News

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Local student attends renowned conference at Disney World

A Toledo high school student was awarded a trip to Disney World in March as part of a nationally competitive program.

Scott High School Senior Andre Matthews was selected to be part of the competitive 2016 Disney Dreamers Academy. TV host Steve Harvey and Essence magazine partnered with Disney for the four-day leadership conference that works to inspire students and motivate them to reach their goals.

Andre Matthews, left, posed for a photo with other high school students who attended the Disney Dreamers Academy this spring. Matthews, an Upward Bound student, will graduate from Scott High School this week.

Andre Matthews, left, posed for a photo with other high school students who attended the Disney Dreamers Academy this spring. Matthews, an Upward Bound student, will graduate from Scott High School this week.

During his stay, Matthews and the other students visited the Disney theme parks, attended workshops and seminars about their future career field, and met celebrities.

“I have to say, a session called Unplugged where Steve Harvey sat down with us, no cameras or anything else, he talked with us and told us how life works — that was my favorite part,” he said. “He was just real with us.”

Matthews plans to study graphic design and business management in college. His goal: to start his own T-shirt design company, which will allow him to implement his passion for art, particularly spray paint art.

He learned about the program from his Upward Bound mentor Alisha Durham.

“It’s an awesome experience,” she said. “It’s great exposure that allows you to see behind the scenes and speak to people. It’s one thing to speak to us as mentors, but to speak to famous people that have so many resources and see how they made it and how they give back was a great opportunity for him to experience.”

Durham is the associate director of UT’s Upward Bound, which helps high school students prepare and ultimately succeed in college.

Matthews will be at UT this summer as a member of the Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program, which is designed for first-year students to help them make the academic, social and cultural transition from high school to college and inspire success in the classroom.

According to Matthews, Disney Dreamers changed his outlook on life.

“As soon as I came back, I saw things differently at school and the people I was around,” he said. “It kind of gave me a boost of confidence and made me think ‘I can take on the world.’”

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