February 14, 2017 – North Charleston, SC – Thanks to a hard working group of volunteers from local companies and organizations, over 1000 students were invited to a very special STEM themed event staged at a theater complex adjacent to North Charleston City Hall.
Students arrived by the bus load to an expo style event in the theater lobby where local STEM professionals from NUCOR, Google, SPAWAR, and others set up table top displays. The professionals shared the good news about high demand, high wage careers available right here in the Charleston region!
By 10AM, five theaters were full of excited students and the acclaimed movie Hidden Figures had begun. The wonderfully produced movie tells the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit around the earth, and his successful return.
This was not the first Hidden Figures movie event orchestrated by local STEM Champions Ms. Radia Heywar, Ms. Anishi Scott, and Ms. Jenna Richardson. With the encouragement of their employers, Ms. Heyward, Ms. Richardson, and Ms. Scott had staged an earlier event on a Saturday that was a huge success with hundreds attending.
When the movie finished, and while many eyes were still wet with emotion, the lights came up and students were treated to a panel discussion with local professionals like Ms. Joan Robinson-Berry, site leader and lead executive in charge at Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston and Mr. KaMar Galloway, local leader of Google’s CS First computer science program. Not only was the powerful movie discussed, but also the pathway available to students today and the career opportunities that await them in the fast growing Charleston economy.
Thanks to generous support from the Charleston Defense Contractors Association, students were awarded prizes in each theater when they answered questions about the movie correctly.
Students were treated to chicken sandwiches and pizza as they exited the theater thanks in part to the generous support from the City of North Charleston, including volunteers from the police and other departments. By 1:30 PM, the students had all departed.
Participating schools from Charleston County School District included:
- Wando HS
- R B Stall HS
- Academic Magnet HS
- St. Johns HS
- Baptist Hill MHS
- Septima P. Clark Academy
- Garrett Academy of Technology
- West Ashley HS
- James Simons EMS
- Orange Grove MS
- James Island MS
- Jerry Zucker MS
- CE Williams MS
- Montessori Community School
- Cario MS
- West Ashley MS
- Deer Park MS
Over 250 students from Berkeley County Schools also attended.
Special thanks to everyone that made this event possible, especially Ms. Rita Scott and the NYC African American Business Leaders Fund for the movie tickets, City of North Charleston for lunch support, and Charleston Defense Contractors Association for their support of prizes and other supplies for the event.