Hidden Figure: Sonja Green


Hidden Figure: Sonja Green

Crystal: Who is Sonja Green?

Sonja: Sonja is love and passion. I love everyone unconditionally. I have a passion for living life and helping people. My job is not done for the day if I did not make, at least, one person smile. I am not talking about the fake smile you get from someone that barely says hello to you. I am talking about that smile someone feels deep within and it exudes a moment of happiness on their face. I believe you can find something to smile about no matter what you are going through. The glass should always be half full instead of half empty.

Crystal: As a math teacher, how did Hidden Figures inspire you?

Sonja: They were problem solvers and made themselves indispensable. Katherine Johnson reminded me why I love math so much. There is something new to discover all the time. Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn made me feel like, even at 40, I can still do anything I want. I can still break down barriers.

Crystal: When did you fall in love with Math?

Sonja: I fell in love with math during my 7th grade year. Before that year, I loved English/Language Arts. I was an awesome speller and a grammar/parts of speech guru, for my age. It was in 6th grade at Courtenay Middle School where I started to discover how good I was in Math, but my 7th grade year was that year. My teacher, Mr. Brockington, made Math enjoyable and easy to learn. From then on, I felt like I could conquer any math problem you put before me.

Crystal: How do make Math enjoyable for your students?

Sonja: I attempt to be like Mr. Brockington. I try to make math fun for my students. I grew up in a family where laughter cured almost all pain. To some kids, math is painful. They struggle so much with the logic behind it and the application of it. My philosophy is: “If I can get you to enjoy my class, you will eventually enjoy the math taking place in my class and want to learn more of it.”

Crystal: Did you know the Hidden Figures story prior to the movie?

Sonja: No. There are so many stories like theirs. History is full of amazing people we will never know about. The people who know of what took place in history will not tell. They would much rather want you to believe his story than to tell the “truth”.

Crystal: What do you think of the concept of human computers?

Sonja: I think it was awesome and inspiring to know there were so many black women that were so good with math, they were hired by NASA to check the engineers’ calculations.

Crystal: Who is your Hidden Figure/mentor?

Sonja: I have been fortunate to have a number of people guide and inspire me throughout my lifetime. There have been teachers, church members, pastors, and family members who have left a lasting impression on me and mentored me. My hidden figure was my grandmother, Lillie Mae Green. She believed in me from the beginning. She did not express it much through words, but I knew it from her actions. She, along with my grandfather, raised a family of 11 children. Nine of them she birthed and two she didn’t. I am one of those two. Grandma did not complete school, yet she had a wealth of knowledge. She was the epitome of strength. Above anything else, she was a problem solver.

Crystal: What is your favorite quote?

Sonja: “You always have a choice. It is the consequences of the choices you make that you have to live with” –Elizabeth B. Hunter

Crystal: How do you define success?

Sonja: Success is trying something and seeing it through to the end. Even if your end result is failure, you completed the task. The good thing about failing is you found a way not to do it. Now, you can try whatever it was again, but a different way. Hopefully, you get a better result.

Crystal: What is your favorite book?

Sonja: I do not have a favorite book. However, I love fiction. It takes me to a place in my imagination that has nothing to do with the stresses of my everyday life.

Crystal: What words of inspiration can you leave the audience?

Sonja: Never stop learning. Never stop wanting to learn. Learning makes you a better, more well-rounded person. Learning is not always something academic. Life lessons are the most valuable. Never stop paying attention. Always stay humble.


One thought on “Hidden Figure: Sonja Green

  1. Thank you for sharing your story! As a mathematics teacher for 35+ years, it is good to know that the profession is in good hands for another generation! Congratulations for being a positive force in the lives of our youth and passing on the love of mathematics!

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