Our Name

In June of 2022, GBAPS Online School was renamed to Katherine Johnson Academy of Enriched Virtual Learning (KJ Academy). A naming committee was formed to select a name that captured the unique learning experience our school offers. The Board of Education approved the new name on June 27, 2022. 

Rationale

Katherine Johnson was a leader on the cutting edge of technology and human innovation. Katherine ambitiously sought educational experiences and overcame adversity to earn her education. She transferred her learning, despite continued oppression of women and minorities, to the benefit of mankind. 

Research

Katherine Johnson excelled at school. She was one of three African American students chosen to integrate West Virginia's Graduate School, Johnson being the only female. Subsequently, she was the third African American to earn a PhD in mathematics. When she joined the workforce, the only jobs open to women were careers in teaching, nursing, and secretarial, so Katherine began her career as a teacher. 

After years of teaching and raising her family, she had the opportunity to work for NASA and was responsible for mathematical calculations that ensured flight paths and reentry for NASA missions, launching the first person into space, as well as the moon landing, and the Apollo missions. Even after computers were used to assist the calculation of trajectories, Katherine's leadership was invaluable. She was the human connection between man and machine, verifying that calculations were accurate and solving problems computers could not. 

Katherine added another extraordinary achievement to her long list: President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. She passed away on February 24, 2020.

Meaning 

As a contemporary woman and minority, Katherine Johnson represents the diversity of our local school community. Technology is an ever growing tool for education, and space exploration is a reminder to think without limits. The choice of name recognizes Katherine's leadership in cutting edge technology and innovation. It also honors her ability to overcome adversity throughout her life to the benefit of mankind. 

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