By Jeff Harrison
People across the country stared into the sky Monday afternoon and watched as the sun slowly disappeared. For a few minutes, the moon’s orbit blocked the sun in a rare total solar eclipse. It was the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States in 38 years. In Oklahoma, people experienced a partial solar eclipse with about 85 percent of the sun blocked out by the moon.
Students and faculty from Carl Albert Middle School shared in the experience as they watched the partial solar eclipse together from the high school football field bleachers. All of the students and faculty were given eclipse viewing glasses.
“It was a really cool experience and it’s awesome that our school allowed us to see it,” said Alivia Wiley, an eighth grader at Carl Albert Middle School.
The school prepared for the event with lessons about how a solar eclipse works and the importance of wearing proper eye ware. Some classes also made a traditional pinhole viewer and compared it with the glasses during the eclipse.
“Each of our teachers did something different to prepare us for the eclipse. Our science teacher showed us videos and explained it all to us,” said Brooke Davis, an eighth-grader.
Principal Cindy Anderson wanted her students to experience the eclipse so she reached out to the community for helping in buying proper glasses. Within a few days, parents and grandparents contributed money to buy 920 pair.
“When all of this talk started up in May or June, I thought it’d be cool to do it,” she said. “I put it on Facebook and several parents and grandparents messaged me back to help.”
Anderson bought the glasses from Eclipse for a Cause, an organization that promotes Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education. The glasses cost 48 cents each. And for each pair of glasses the school purchased, the group donated a pair of glasses to a public school in need.