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Starling PreK-8 Students Dress to the Nines for Apollo 11 Screening at the Lincoln Theater

four women standing outside of the Lincoln Theater

May 10, 2024 — On the first day of May, moviegoers from across the city gathered at the storied Lincoln Theater to watch a screening of Apollo 11, a film documenting the historic 1969 moon landing. This showing was part of Ohio Goes to the Movies, a statewide event series celebrating America’s 250th anniversary in 2026.

In attendance at the Lincoln were filmmakers, legislators, NASA personnel, and a group of westside students from Starling PreK-8. governor dewine posing with young blakc student

Hope Hall and her sister, Harmony, were two of the Starling students selected to come with their families to the film's screening. The two weren’t planning to wear their standard jeans and t-shirts to the show. At their mother's advice, they wore their best dresses for the occasion. 

“I felt like I was at the red carpet,” Hope said. “The theater was so fancy. It was awesome.”

Ohio Goes to the Movies is led by program director Molly Kreuzman. The initiative seeks to showcase the stories of Ohioans from all walks of life, and Kreuzman is passionate about making the screenings accessible to all. She knew she had to bring students to the theater to experience films alongside state and city leaders as part of this work. 

“Ohio Goes to the Movies is about bringing people who don’t normally have these opportunities to an event like the Apollo 11 screening,” Kreuzman said. “Every time you can shine a spotlight on the kids, it gives them a whole new perspective on what’s out there.”

None of the Starling students in attendance had ever been to the Lincoln Theater before, and they were impressed with the building’s architecture and regal design. They were also in awe of Governor Mike DeWine, who attended the showing with his wife, First Lady Fran DeWine. The two took time after the showing to speak with the students and learn more about what they’re learning at Starling. 

Teresa Murph, Starling’s counselor, attended the showing with the students. She said it was impactful for the students to visit the theater and meet state and community leaders.

“I feel like our kids got a look outside their bubble,” Murph said. “[They got to see] the possibilities of what they can be.”

The students who attended the event were chosen specifically because they love science, a core theme throughout the movie. Myles Coyle, a Starling second-grade student, was fascinated by the film. He loved learning more about space travel, and by the movie's end, he understood nearly enough to travel to the moon himself. 

“The astronauts made a spaceship. When it was getting close to the moon, a part broke off so the ship had less weight,” Coyle explained. “And when you’re on the moon, if you jump, you get to float in the air.”

Kreuzman was touched by the students' enthusiasm. She hopes that the experience of going to a high-profile film screening at a historic theater will open their eyes to the possibilities of their futures. 

“We raise our expectations when we see something new and different,” Kreuzman said. “[This screening showed them] where they can go and what they can do. It’s so critically important.” 

As they reflected on the evening, Hope and Harmony said several moments stood out to them: walking the ‘red carpet,’ seeing Apollo 11 land on the moon, and, of course, enjoying the Ohio Goes to the Movies free popcorn. 

“I probably ate five boxes of popcorn,” Harmony said. And, after a pointed glance from her sister, she added, “Well, maybe five-and-a-half. My sister gave me some of hers.” 

Kreuzman is excited to continue building on this momentum when the Ohio Goes to the Movies programming begins in earnest in 2026. She wants to ensure kids of all ages feel welcome at the showings, just as the Starling students did. 

“A big part of Ohio Goes to the Movies is being family-friendly,” she said. “One of the things I am most excited about this role is going out to towns in Ohio that never feel seen and heard and making them part of this celebration. That includes the kids.”

Photo credit to Dan Mitchell and Terry Gilliam.

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