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STEM students honor Katherine G. Johnson

Every student at the Katherine G. Johnson STEM Academy wrote a letter to the woman who inspired the name for their school. As always, kids say it best:


"You're my hero!"


'Thank you for loving science. I love science, too, and I want to be an astronaut one day."


"Thank you for helping us land on the moon."


"You're the only 99-year-old friend I have."


And sometimes, they go above and beyond, as was the case with third-grader Andres Sanchez, who not only wrote a letter with a three-dimensional rocket on the inside. He went home and explored YouTube to learn how to make a rocket out of a plastic bottle, and he surprised his teachers and classmates by showing up with a beautifully painted and decorated rocket made from a bottle and some scrap cardboard.


"I just wanted to make her something special, and I thought she'd like it since she knows so much about rockets and math," he said with a shrug and a smile. "I just looked around on YouTube, and there it was, so I made it."


This week, the students collected all their letters, Andres' rocket and a few other tokens of appreciation and mailed them to Dr. Johnson, who lives in Virginia.


The STEM Academy students have been busy working on design projects, which they will showcase their work when they welcome family and community members to the upcoming dedication ceremony. Here are the details:


  • When: 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24 with outdoor ceremony @ 6 p.m.
  • Where: STEM Academy, 9315 Jack Finney Blvd.
  • Who's invited: Everyone - it's open to the public
  • Student showcases of design projects (being coordinated by classroom teachers)
  • Solar cars: The top-scoring solar car team members will show off their stuff in the parking lot.
  • Robotics: The award-winning robotics team will demonstrate their skills in the cafeteria. 
  • Time capsule filled with all kinds of interesting stuff