With our nation’s schools under attack, Disney Imagination Campus offered a bit of respite to our school teachers. In addition, the happiest place on earth also recognized four inspiring Black teachers among the 50 from across the country as guests of honor for a magical celebration of America’s education heroes at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as part of its 50th anniversary, per Disney’s press release sent to BLACK ENTERPRISE.
Carlanda Williams from Fresno, CA, Coquestia Ladd from Oklahoma City, Timothy Moore from Memphis, TN, and Quandrell Claybrooks from Atlanta were the educators chosen to participate in the commemoration hosted by Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, which launched “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” in October to mark the resort’s 50th year.
Upon their arrival during Memorial Day Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney treated 50 elementary, middle, and high school teachers to memorable entertainment experiences in the parks, a celebratory parade at Magic Kingdom Park, and inspiring sessions led by Disney leaders Disney Imagineers and a Broadway performer.
“Teachers are among our country’s greatest resources, and their educational artistry and dexterity were never more evident than during the pandemic,” said Javier Moreno, a senior vice president at Disney Destinations. “These 50 teachers, along with thousands of other educators around the country, deserve to be celebrated for their continued efforts to inspire our nation’s children through the imagination-powered learning philosophy that is at the core of our Disney Imagination Campus.”
Carlanda Williams is an elementary school teacher who regularly transforms her classroom in ways that spark her students’ imaginations and makes learning fun. She changed her classroom into an escape room for Halloween and Christmas, challenging students to work together to solve riddles and ultimately solve a mystery that allowed them to escape the room.
Coquestia Ladd is a middle school teacher who encourages her students to tap into their creativity by asking, “Are you living in a fantasy world?” In teams, she has students create their own original, imaginative narratives to comment on themes they see in real life. At the end of the project, they develop a presentation to convince a filmmaker or a video game developer to turn their written story into the next big movie or game.
Timothy Moore is a middle school teacher who inspired his students to imagine their ideal futures by creating a “time machine” with a smoke machine, music, lights and by sporting a fake gray beard. The exercise helped the students visualize their own futures, which they recorded in notebooks labeled “Your Time Machine.” Upon graduation, Moore gave each student their journal with the reminder, “If you ever find yourself lost, use your time machine to find your way forward.”
Quandrell Claybrooks is a high school teacher who led his school’s One-Act Play Ensemble to teach students creativity, strategy, and execution. In coming together as a team, the ensemble reached the state competition finishing third for the hip-hop-based musical, World of Wonder, and earning acting awards for both leads.