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Will Smith, inspired by Dads on Duty, sends Southwood High students to the movies

FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, file photo, U.S actor Will Smith poses for photographers...
FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, file photo, U.S actor Will Smith poses for photographers during the photocall of "Bad Boys for Life," in Paris. Inspired by the benevolent group of fathers, actor Will Smith is sending Southwood to see his new movie King Richard, which is about the upbringing of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)(Thibault Camus | AP)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 5:39 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 4:47 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The national attention Southwood High School continues to garner, thanks to the efforts of Dads on Duty, has found its way to Hollywood.

Inspired by the benevolent group of fathers, actor Will Smith is sending Southwood High students to see his new movie, “King Richard,” which is about the upbringing of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams.

Smith’s character, Richard Williams, was born in Shreveport.

On the morning of Friday, Nov. 12, Southwood High students were bussed to Cinemark Tinseltown theaters in Shreveport and Regal Cinemas at the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City.

“Well, what happened is that publicist for Will Smith contacted Dads on Duty and said they were interested in supporting the students at Southwood High School and the initiatives occurring,” said Dr. Kim Pendleton, principal of Southwood High. “We’ve gotten a lot of great publicity locally and at large.”

Pendleton said this wasn’t going to be a trip to the movies for the students; Southwood High is implementing an academic component to the trip, too.

“When parents are involved, things happen,” said Pendleton. “It’s important the school, the community, the parents at large get together and work for the common good of the students.”

At the end of the day, the principal said, she wants her students to walk away from the film with a strengthened sense of purpose. “No matter what happens to you, be strong and keep pushing forward.”

As students picked up their drinks and popcorn, teachers said they hope today’s outing will inspire students to do good.

“This is very impactful what Will Smith did because it is showing the students that it is not where you come from. It’s encouraging them to push forward,” said Felise Doyle, a Southwood High teacher.

Students said they are grateful for the experience.

“Southwood is not a bad school, and it is time to portray the good parts of Southwood,” student Noah Grant said.

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