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Celebrating Black History Month with a Real-Life Super Hero

Serena Williams surprises a group of STEM students at a private screening of Black Panther

Besides winning 23 Grand Slam singles titles and four Olympic gold medals, tennis master Serena Williams is a champion of education equity too—and, like everything she does, she’s really good at it.  

Founder of the Serena Williams Fund and co-founder (with big sister Venus) of the Williams Sisters Fund, her philanthropic goals are to foster and support positive change around two issues she’s equally passionate about—equity through education and assisting victims of violence.

According to her website, Williams has built schools in Kenya and Jamaica, and filled classrooms with supplies in her hometown of Compton. Last week, she took her equity through education mission to a movie theater in San Francisco where she surprised an unsuspecting group of young Black Girls CODE (BGC) students at a private screening of the new Marvel Comics film Black Panther.

Ecstatic to be in the presence of a real-life super hero, the audience of aspiring future female coders listened raptly to Williams as she explained the significance of the film, “For black people, we’ve never had a superhero movie, so I’m so excited. I feel like I’ve waited my whole life for this.”

Black Girls CODE is a non-profit organization that introduces young girls from underrepresented communities to coding by promoting and providing access to after-school programs and workshops in computer programming and game design. By partnering with BGC for this special screening, Williams has helped to shine a light on the organization and their shared mission to empower girls of color to become “innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures.”

Williams is certainly a brilliant role model, and as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time, she’s arguably a STEM overachiever too. After all, if tennis is a game of angles, then Serena Williams must be a master geometrician. Tell that to your students who wonder how they’ll ever use geometry in their daily lives.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a way to celebrate Black History Month at your school, and to maybe get a head start on your Women’s History Month festivities as well, check out this EdSurge post on the fun and exciting ways your fellow teachers are using Black Panther as an educational opportunity in their classrooms.