Bishop Gorman freshman Roman Jimenez is one step closer to achieving his career goal of becoming the CEO of the Walt Disney World Co.
In March, Jimenez will learn from motivational speakers and discover potential creative career paths during the four-day Disney Dreamers Academy at Disney World in Florida.
Jimenez found out about the Disney Dreamers Academy from watching Steve Harvey on television with his mother, Ruth Jimenez, as a sixth-grader. The application must be submitted by high school freshmen, so Roman waited two years.
The application required Roman to submit a series of essays about himself, his interests, his inspiration and his goals.
Roman said he believes his family story may have set him apart from the thousands of other applicants.
Ruth is a single mother whose parents emigrated from Nicaragua.
“Their story has influenced my view of the world,” Roman said.
He said he would use his dream job at Disney as a platform to share his views on gun violence and immigration.
Ruth said she took her son to Disneyland almost weekly when they lived in Los Angeles. They had season passes. Ruth grew up in South Central Los Angeles, and Roman grew up in the San Fernando Valley.
“Roman and I went through some tough times, and Disneyland was where we went together to forget about it all for a few hours,” she said.
There are four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. They are Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
One-day tickets to one park at Walt Disney World start at $109. A Park Hopper option that allows guests to visit multiple theme parks in Disney World cost $164 per ticket, per day. Four-day tickets to all four Walt Disney World parks start at $340. One-day tickets to Disneyland in Southern California range from $104 to $149.
Roman is one of 100 students chosen to participate in the academy, which runs from March 21-24. Each student will participate in career-oriented workshops that include animation and zoology, and receive lessons in effective communication techniques, leadership skills and networking strategies.
Tracey Powell, vice president of Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion, said the classes and workshops offered through the academy change every year depending on the student dreamer’s interests.
Powell said the goal of the academy is to have the students evaluate their dreams, be inspired by professionals and help them make their dreams a reality.
Powell said the academy sees a “transformation” in the students from day one to day four. She said the students begin the weekend apprehensive, but leave confident.
The Walt Disney World Resort has offered the free trips for students and a parent or guardian since 2008.