Local girl meets physicist Stephen Hawking, Oscar nominated actor

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- One Houston child will be rooting for a special actor and movie tonight at the Oscars.

Still today, Maria Suarev's heart soars when world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking's name is mentioned.

"That was pretty amazing I still can't believe I met him. That's just surprising. That's just crazy!" Suarez said.

Maria has been a fan of Hawking ever since she read the children's books he wrote. She is also a big fan of Eddie Redmayne, the actor who plays Hawking in the current Oscar nominated movie "The Theory of Everything."

When Maria's grandma Charlotte Aguilar saw a contest on Wired Magazine to meet Stephen Hawking she knew they had to enter.

"She wanted to meet Stephen Hawking so badly, and I realized the chances of that are so remote," Aguilar said.

They submitted a question about turning the children's books into movies. Weeks later they received the good news that they had won. Coming up with the money to travel to London was no easy task, but the night in December was more than worth it.

Maria got to meet both of her idols in front of hundreds of people.

"I did give him a hug, that was really amazing!" Maria said.

"I got choked up a number of times because I could see what it meant to her and I realized, it was really a potentially life changing for her," Aguilar said.

The experience was not only life-changing for Maria, but also served as a learning point for her classmates back home at the Post Oak School.

"For our classroom it's been interesting to introduce to the kids who is Stephen Hawking. What did he do? Why is he famous?" Maria's teacher Beth Smith said.

When the Oscar winners are announced tonight, Maria may be a bit biased, but she's sure of one thing.

"He's going to win," she said of Eddie Redmayne.
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