The Delta Epsilon Foundation, operated by members of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, rented out the Ritz Carmike Theater in Voorhees, N.J., recently, allowing 100 area students to attend a private screening of the hit movie “Hidden Figures.”
For the effort, the Foundation partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Camden Youth Services, Eastern Regional High School, the Willingboro High School cheerleading squad and others to expose the group of male students to the film about a trio of African-American female NASA employees whose efforts help launch the agency’s first successful space missions.
“I learned that talent does not see race, color or creed. The movie inspired us to challenge social norms to be the first, make history and change the world,” said Korey Hagamin, a senior at Overbrook High School in Pine Hill, N.J., following the Jan. 23 screening.
Before the film, Rod Bennett, chairman of the Delta Epsilon Foundation, gave opening remarks about the history of Sigma Pi Phi and its social action initiatives. Member Ron Ward also moderated a Q&A session with Laurie Hylick, granddaughter of Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the movie.
Throughout her career at NASA, Johnson made significant contributions to the aeronautics and space programs that launched Apollo 11 and Project Mercury, among others. Hylick spoke about her grandmother’s research for NASA and the space shuttle program, as well as breaking barriers for women in science, according to a news release.
Ron Bacon, head of Delta Epsilon Boulé and a Voorhees resident, emphasized the organization’s commitment to mentor African-American youth and thanked fellow members for their efforts in organizing this event, including Voorhees resident Donn Scott, Sicklerville resident Lloyd Freeman, Voorhees resident Rod Bennett and Beverly resident Ron Ward.