MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A local school brought class to the movies Tuesday. Buses transported more than 70 students from Jones County High School got to see box office heavy hitter Hidden Figures–for free. It’s all thanks to one guidance counselor.
Kahadija Oliver-Baker says she’s committed to giving kids a new perspective on U.S. history. The film, based on true events, tells the story of three African American women working in the NASA space program in the 1960’s. After seeing the movie herself, Baker felt it was an experience she needed to share with students.
“That Monday when I got back to school I asked to take the kids and my principal said sure,” she said.
But get this…not only did she organize the field trip, she also paid for all 76 student tickets out of her own pocket.
“The movie theater said I had to have it paid within one week of the showing so I came out here and I used my own personal funds to secure the tickets,” she said.
That’s nearly $500 in movie tickets. Baker felt it was worth every penny to give students an alternative learning experience.
“The goal of education to learn the truth, and because their textbooks do not include the full truth.” She continued, “As a parent, as an educator, and as a woman I want to be sure that I help expose the truth to my students.”
The story of three African American women working in NASA’s space program isn’t found in students’ textbooks but it’s one she says still needs to be told.
“I think about my students like my own children and I would have been remiss to not bring about some type of change in order to get them here to the theater to experience this truth,” she said.
Baker added that going the extra mile to show her kids an alternative look at history and the overwhelming response she got when she presented the opportunity is what makes her job all worth while.
She initially planned for 70 students to attend but more than twice that number returned permission slips signed by their parents.
Baker told 41NBC that unfortunately all 152 who returned permission slips were not able to attend Tuesday’s field trip. However, she is waiting on approval from the school to take that additional 80 students to see the film some time later this week.