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NPS Students Inspired by Visible and "Hidden Figures"

NPS Students Inspired by Visible and "Hidden  Figures"


Students were treated to a private screening of the movie "Hidden Figures" hosted by Old Dominion University (ODU) at the MacArthur Center Stadium on Wednesday.  The event was sponsored by ODU and Mrs. Sandra W. Lewis, the first African-American woman to graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia (UVA).  The entire theater was rented for NPS students; concessions and giveaways were provided for the audience of approximately 200 students.  Four high schools participated, Booker T. Washington, Granby, Lake Taylor, Norview and a group of kids from Southside STEM Academy made five.  Not only did students get to see the film, but they also heard from Dr. Christine Darden, one of the women in the book "Hidden Figures",  and every student received a copy of the book with a personal inscription from Mrs. Lewis. 


Superintendent, Dr. Melinda J. Boone, helped to get the day started by giving welcoming remarks to attendees.  They were excited to see her and hear about her own experience as a science major.  Mrs. Lewis, whose sponsorship largely funded purchasing the books given to students, stated "...after I saw the movie, I felt like I just had to do something, kids needed to see this", her inspiration led her to contact ODU and in turn, the university worked with NPS, specifically targeting schools with a STEM focus.  A few NPS alumni were also in the crowd as a number of ODU and Norfolk State University (NSU) students were in attendance.  During Dr. Darden's discussion, she explained how as a young child she was destined to study the physical sciences.  She recalled getting a doll and cutting it open "to see how it worked" instead of just playing with the toy. 


Eager to engage with the students during the event ODU was well represented.  Faculty, students, and staff from the Batten College of Engineering and Technology, as well as the college's Dean, Dr. Stephanie Adams, who happens to be the first woman and first African-American to hold the position, were on hand.  In Dr. Adams' address to the group, she shared her recent encounter of meeting one of the real "figures," Dr. Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson in the movie and offered words of encouragement to the students.  Dr. Adams also introduced the group to two engineers with NASA Langley who've recently been identified by the research agency as Modern Figures, aeronautics systems engineers, Dr. Sharon Monica Jones, and Dr. Julie Williams Byrd.  Throughout the movie, the kids erupted in applause several times throughout and at the end the smiles on their faces said it all.  As NPS helps to prepare students for the future, this event will certainly inspire the next generation of "visible figures."   

Hidden No More  movie poster