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Black Teen Drop-out Goes Back To School After Seeing Black Panther

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Black Women of Brazil

A teenage black boy who dropped out of high school in his native country of Brazil, South America was inspired to do something very constructive with his life after he viewed Marvel’s Black Panther at a movie theater this year. reported on Thursday (March 29) that Renato Siqueira de Castro (pictured) decided he would relinquish his status as a high school dropout and resume continuing his education after he recently saw Black Panther. About a year ago, de Castro,15, dropped out of a public school he attended in a poverty-stricken region of Rio.

But the aspiring young firefighter had his natural hero’s nature reignited after seeing the film. However, this is a small part of a lifelong dream. When de Castro was 11-years-old, a shack him and his family lived in caught on fire. His mother was rescued by a brave fireman after the scary incident.

“I want to save lives,” de Castro said in an exclusive interview with Black Women of Brazil. The yearlong road de Castro traveled since dropping out of school was hard. He worked long days at a train station shining shoes so that he could eat and pay his $130 per month rent for a shack that he lived in.

But his customers would always tell him he was too young to be struggling and needed to get back in school. Watching Black Panther at a local movie theater changed all that for de Castro. “It was Black Panther that made me go back to school.” Without school, I can’t get anything. I stopped and thought: Gee, I better go back to school,” he said.

Nowadays, de Castro is participating in a program called Sponsor a Smile, which fuses culture, education, and the community to help underprivileged Brazilian youths get back in school. Vila Operária public school is where de Castro is studying now.

“This school is better. There’s no confusion. I was making confusion in the old school too. But it’s that thing: Everybody did it and I did it. Now, everyone behaves and so do I,” de Castro also told Black Women of Brazil. The story of Renato Siqueira de Castro is proof that anyone can turn their lives around if they believe in themselves.

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