Just because she’s an actress doesn’t mean Viola Davis doesn’t value education. The 52-year-old How to Get Away With Murder star recently opened up to Closer Weekly about the personal importance education had on her life. And how now, she’s raising her own daughter, Genesis, to value learning.

“We all want our kids to change the world,” the star exclusively told Closer Weekly at the EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live event on Sept. 8 in Santa Monica, CA. “I always say I would have been a statistic if it were not for education. It changed my life!” You go, Viola! We love that the actress was brave enough to be honest about the profound impact education has on our children. She even joked that she’s “not a brownie-baking mom.”

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And to all of those people who doubt the validity of her claims, she’s been open about growing up in poverty. So, there’s a very real chance that she would not have the life she has now if it weren’t for the opportunities she was given. “Most of the time, the school lunch was the only meal I had. And I would befriend kids whose mothers cooked three meals a day and go to their homes when I could,” she said of her childhood in Central Falls, RI. “When you grow up poor, you dream of just having a home, and a bed that’s clean — that’s a sanctuary. Having a really great husband, a child who’s healthy and happy and brings me joy — all of that has been my dream.”

But, she has not only found commercial and critical acclaim, she also got an education. Before her career in acting took off, Viola studied theatre at Rhode Island College. After that, she studied for four years at Juilliard School. Now, she has an Academy Award, a Tony Award, and an Emmy Award. How impressive!

For more on Viola, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for exclusive news!