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Viola Davis On How Education ‘Connects All Of Us’

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Viola Davis is big on education.(Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Viola Davis knows how to handle adversity, but she says there’s one thing that bridges the gap for everyone.


“Education is the one thing that connects all of us,” she told People magazine Friday, Sept. 8, at XQ Super School Live, which works to transform high school education. “It connects us within races, within social economic groups. It’s the one connecting force every American has because that’s what we want for our children — a great education because we sort of all want our kids to change the world.”

The 52-year-old mother, who added she emphasizes that learning is ongoing to her 7-year-old daughter, Genesis, whom she shares with husband Julius Tennon.

“I always say education doesn’t stop until you get to your grave,” she said at the event she hosted, which was televised on the big four networks. “That you’re always learning and you’re not just learning math and science, you’re learning about yourself.

“You’re learning that every time, there’s a chance to inject an idea into the world that can change it in some way.”

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Growing up, Davis also got insight into learning about herself. As a teen, the Academy Award winner was involved in the federal TRIO Upward Bound program, which supports students’ success in high school and college.

“Jeff Kenyon, he was a teacher in the Upward Bound program and the best thing that he told me is that I’m important,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think that there’s a lot of awkward high school students out there that have probably x’d themselves out. It’s an awkward phase in life. You don’t feel like you’re pretty enough, good enough, smart enough — nothing is enough.

“[Kenyon] taught me that I was enough. He listened to me. That was the best education that he gave me.”

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