Modern Figure, Aprille Ericsson Inspires Youth In Chattanooga

Courtesy Photo

Story: Nori Nori

The youth group, Kids Today Scholars Tomorrow (KTST) was founded by Bishop W. C. Hunter at the World’s Church of the Living God in Chattanooga, TN in the early 90’s. He passed away last year but his legacy of youth advocacy, education and most of all spiritual growth lives on. This is not your average church youth group. KTST has been active in the community for years and there are no plans of them slowing down. This program breathes life into high school students being civilly engaged in the communities they worship, live, work and play in.

Last year, the film ‘Hidden Figures’ inspired many across the nation to take a deeper look into the NASA space program. Learning the story of these brave African American women mathematicians who were vital to the early years of the space program was impactful to say the least. Their story was compelling. Their story made history. They are a part of Black History. They are a part of American history. They are our history and KTST is creating their own history.

KTST invited NASA’s Instrument Manager, Aerospace Engineer Dr. Aprille Ericcson to Chattanooga for not only a private reception for their youth but extended the invitation to young people across the city. She humbly accepted their offer and began her tour of the city. A real life rocket scientist came to Chattanooga and spread good energy, knowledge, motivation and inspiration to all who crossed her path. Dr. Ericcson visited Tech Town, Dalewood Middle School and was a part of the Bessie Smith Heritage Festival sharing her experience as a rocket scientist and how she came to be our modern day hidden figure. The best part is that she is not hidden, she out front and center and telling every young person (especially girls) that they can be a rocket scientist too. One thing that you don’t hear everyday is a kid say when they grow up they want to be a rocket scientist and Dr. Ericcson is changing that.

Her presentation was of ancient history and how the Egyptians were great builders, architects, physicians and amazing mathematicians. She shared her younger years and how her childhood shaped her adulthood. She spoke of her influences from grade school to high school to college. She shared how she became a master conqueror of her strengths. Dr. Ericcson is a true story teller.

A leader in her field; Ericcson shared stories of how the fictional character Lt. Uhura of Star Trek inspired her. She also shared her first conversation with Katherine Johnson.

Johnson was played by Taraji P. Henson in the film, ‘Hidden Figures’. KTST not only hosted a rocket scientist in the city but they may have inspired the next generation of leaders. They are branching out and boldly going where few youth groups have gone before. They are leading the charge to be bold for God and to be bold for themselves.

Kids Today, Scholars Tomorrow- MOTTO:

I am…Confident
I can… Achieve
I will… Surpass

We will SUCCEED!

A special thank you to Pastor Allan Harrington, The World’s Church of the Living God, Tina Player, Adam Cowan, Rebecca Cowan and everyone that made Dr. Ericcson trip to Chattanooga a most memorable experience.