RICHMOND, Va. -- Ninth-graders from across the City of Richmond received a free trip to the movies Thursday to watch the untold story of black female NASA Mathematicians.
Around 1,500 students from nine different Richmond high schools made a trip to Bow Tie Movieland at Boulevard Square to see the Academy Award nominated film, “Hidden Figures.”
“Hidden Figures” is based in Virginia and tells the story of NASA mathematicians Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson, who were tasked with calculating the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
Thursday’s trip is the first of a larger effort to teach nearly 7,000 students across Central Virginia about the history behind the movie.
Seventh and ninth graders from Chesterfield County, Henrico County, and Richmond Public schools will screen the film throughout the month of February.
The screening was made possible, thanks to the efforts of Richmond-based businesses, organizations and community leaders.
Those groups include the Altria Group, Genworth Foundation, St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Dominion, Virginia Film Office, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, among others.
“I feel the movie offers hope to kids who may not otherwise know that you can be a scientist, you can be a mathematician and you can be in the STEM field,” said Greta Randolph with St. Paul’s Baptist Church. “Just introducing them to the movie, I felt it could affect their future.”
The students who watched the movie Thursday are now all taking part in an essay contest about how the film impacted them.
“I think it was a good message from the movie for all African American women to pursue their dreams and never to give up on what you want to be in life or what you want to do,” said Jamya Jackson Thomas, a student at Thomas Jefferson High School.
This movie screening initiative is a part of a nationwide movement to allow students to see “Hidden Figures.” The initiative has quickly spread across the country in cities including New York and New Orleans.