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Charles Barkley Will Donate $1M To St. Mary’s Academy Fueled By New Orleans Teens Who Discovered New Way To Prove Pythagoras’ Theorem

Charles Barkley is inspired by students Calcea Johnson and Ne’Kiya Jackson who made history with their mathematics discovery.

As previously reported by AFROTECH™,  Johnson and Jackson attended St. Mary’s Academy, a Catholic school located in New Orleans, LA, and are responsible for finding a new way to solve the Pythagorean Theorem using trigonometry without circular logic, which had been a mystery for many mathematicians for 2,000 years.

WWL-TV 4 reporter Sam Winstrom spoke to the pair in March 2023 about their accomplishment. Per his report, “Calcea and Ne’Kiya explained it to me like this: Basically, trigonometry is based on Pythagoras’ Theorem (A^2 + B^2 = C^2, sound familiar?), so using trigonometry to prove Pythagoras’ Theorem is what’s known as circular logic.”

Johnson, who is now a freshman at Louisiana State University, spoke to the university ahead of an interview she and Jackson had with “60 Minutes” on May 5, 2024. Johnson revealed to LSU that their discovery was incentivized by a $500 contest by their high school.

“This was its second year, and it had a bonus question: to create a new proof of the Pythagorean Theorem,” Johnson said, according to an LSU news release. “There was also a monetary incentive, $500, and that was really great for a senior in high school. But $500 is not that much when you start doing all this work. We were the only two in the whole school to come up with a solution to the bonus question.”

St. Mary’s Academy principal Pamela Rogers is not surprised by the students’ accomplishment, as there is a standard of excellence instilled in all students, she tells “60 Minutes Overtime.” The outlet reports the school boasts a 100% graduation rate and a 100% college admission rate.

“We were not shocked… our students can do anything. And that’s what we tell them. You know, ‘The sky is the limit, and we want to be up there with you,’” Rogers said.

She added, per AL.com, “We teach young women to give service, to empower themselves, [and] to be in the community. We teach them to grow spiritually, intellectually… to be good people and give to one another.”

In echoing the sentiment of limitless potential instilled at St. Mary’s Academy, the excellence that Johnson and Jackson have exemplified has brought inspiration to the world.

What’s more, they continue to make national headlines, and their “60 Minutes” interview has attracted the attention of NBA legend Charles Barkley, who says he will now be donating $1 million to St. Mary’s Academy.

“These beautiful Black women, man, they’re just the high achievers,” Barkley said, according to AL.com. “A lot is demanded of everybody at the school—high excellence. And these two young Black women did something in mathematics that was incredible. It just inspired me.”

In addition to St. Mary’s, Barkley plans to donate $1 million to his alma mater, Auburn University, focusing the funds on women’s athletics.



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