The Alpha Academy in North Carolina had students honor NASA physicist Katherine Johnson, by naming the new STEM building after her and taking time out from regular class lessons to learn about her role with the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Johnson is a retired African-American NASA physicist and mathematician who was essential in performing detailed calculations in astronaut John Glenn’s orbit of Earth in 1962 and the Apollo Moon landing program.
Students were impressed with her perseverance, as she achieved such a high level of distinction coming from a small town in West Virginia and was affected by racial segregation.
Some of the students met Johnson last year. 11 year old Jaiden Pittman remembered that meeting. “She gave me that beautiful smile, and it’s one of my favorite things about her,” she said. “She’s the best person you can meet.”
Jaiden continued, “She became an outstanding leader because she is a human calculator. We’re still growing to be outstanding leaders, like our mission statement says, and she is one.”