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Middle school girls catch private screening of inspirational ‘Hidden Figures’

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Preteens typically show very little interest in history. But a movie about trailblazing black women offers lessons that could impact the lives of local students forever.

Hollywood captured a page from history with the award-winning film ‘Hidden Figures.’ A private screening has inspired a group of middle school girls to reach for the stars.

‘Hidden Figures’ is untold black history; the story of African-American women who dramatically affected the early days of the U.S. space program despite daily encounters with bigotry and bias.

The movie screening was a gift from the Archway chapter of the Links Incorporated, an international women's service organization. Seventy-five girls from grades 5, 6, 7, and 8 from Marian Middle School watched and learned.

The story captures the real life experiences of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson.

“It teaches them the lesson that these women were strong, courageous; they supported each other,” said Susan Buford, The Links Incorporated. “They didn’t give up. To me, they were civil rights leaders.”

The message from these fearless women—that girls should not fear math, science, or engineering—stirred conversations and when the students returned to the classroom.

“We wanted to extend the value of this experience. Make it more than a day out at the movies,” said Lauren Ming, The Links Incorporated. “So each grade is given a set of questions, to ponder about the movie,

A prize will be awarded for the winning essay from each grade level. Mary Elizabeth Grimes, the president of the all-girls catholic school, said she’s grateful for the experience the girls received.

“We need to pass history down to our children. And they need to know who’s shoulders they’re standing on,” Grimes said.

The students will learn which of their essays won at a school assembly next week.