February 15, 2017 Edition

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Incredible engineering

With a background in English and journalism, I have never really thought much about engineering, mathematics and science. However, the viewing of a recent film and two documentaries, has widened my appreciation for engineering feats.

The film "Hidden Figures," in theaters now, shows the importance of math and engineering in calculating space flights, specifically John Glenn's first orbit of Earth.

The film, based on a true story, tells the previously untold story of three brilliant African-American women in the early 1960s who played key roles at NASA. The calculations of one of the three, Katherine G. Johnson, were crucial in giving the green light to proceed with John Glenn's scheduled flight. While the film shows how much civil rights and women's rights have advanced, it also shows the key role of engineers and human computing.
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Pictures of the Past

Dressed in the latest fashion style of the day, the boys in denim overalls and the girls in their dresses made from flour sacks, these students and teachers pose for this 1940 school photo at Arbor Grove. Located five miles southwest of Hoxie, the Arbor Grove School District was established in 1886 and consolidated with Hoxie School in 1949. Miss Helen Neece (top right) was one of the teachers and after her marriage to Clay Weir, she taught at Hoxie for many years. She now resides in Conway with her older sister, Maxine Bracy, also a longtime teacher at Hoxie. (Pictures of the Past is a cooperative effort of The Times Dispatch and the Lawrence County Historical Society. Readers are encouraged to submit historic photos.)
Photo courtesy of Helen Weir

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