Have you seen "Hidden Figures" yet?
This film shares the previously untold of three African-American women – brilliant mathematicians who were key to NASA’s launch of John Glenn into orbit in 1962.
The Oscar-nominated film has been getting great reviews, and the first person to recommend it to me is a Milwaukee Public Schools principal, who sees the manifold importance of the film.
One of the important lessons of the movie is the kind of encouragement it can offer to all students, but especially girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math (aka STEM) subjects.
With that in mind, the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation is partnering with Beta Alpha Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Marcus Theatres and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, to send 10,000 MPS students and Boys & Girls Club members to see the film.
But some money is still required to make this happen, and the Foundation and its partners are appealing to the community for financial support to raise another $53,000 to fund the trips, including reduced-price tickets, transportation and educational materials to continue the discussion and study in the classroom before and after seeing "Hidden Figures."
Beta Alpha Boulé of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, a fraternal organization comprising prominent African-American community leaders, has already collected more than $52,000 for this program. Marcus Theatres has pledged $50,000 in generous in-kind support, the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation Board of Directors has pledged $10,000 and MPS employees have chipped in more than $2,200 in personal donations.
"So many young people simply do not see career opportunities for themselves, especially in math and the sciences," said Cory Nettles, founder and managing director of Generation Growth Capital, Inc., and a member of Beta Alpha Boulé of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
"Students are inspired when they can see what others have done and can envision themselves following in those footsteps. The first step on a career path is a vision."
MPS has made a strong commitment to STEM offerings across the district, says Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver.
"MPS is already a leader in STEM education," said Dr. Driver. "We have the largest Project Lead The Way footprint of any urban district in the country. We are excited and appreciative of the community support we have received so far – we want students to see that STEM careers are real options regardless of gender or race."
To make a contribution, visit the MPS Foundation website.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.