Students experience the first total solar eclipse in 38 years


Maddie Gamertsfelder

Students and staff viewed the first total solar eclipse in 38 years yesterday on the practice football field. 

A solar eclipse is when the moon travels in front of the sun and creates a period of darkness on Earth.

Looking at the sun can damage the viewer’s eyes without any burning sensation since the retinas do not have pain receptors. Therefore, JCPS required parents to sign a permission slip so that their children could receive a pair of special glasses to safely view the eclipse. 

JCPS extended dismissal in all middle and high schools until 2:41 p.m. since the eclipse was at 96% viewing in Louisville. In addition, there were liability issues which caused a delay in transportation home and added stress to elementary school bus drivers because JCPS could not control students looking at the Sun without protection.

At 2:27 p.m., students packed the football field after the administration gave them safety glasses and specific viewing instructions.

Many of the students said that they were underwhelmed by the eclipse.

“I thought it was actually really bad because I thought it was going to get really dark but then it didn’t—I didn’t even know it was over. My teachers didn’t really explain what it was or what would happen, so I was confused when they started telling people to be dismissed,” Lila Mcguirk (9, MST) said. 

Many of the students said that teachers and faculty had not taught them to their full potential about exactly what would occur and that they, especially underclassmen, were not expecting what happened as the moon passed over.

Reagan Work (10, MST), Samantha Simmons (10, MST), and Allyson Mans (10, MST) watch the solar eclipse with their glasses on. Photo by Maddie Gamertsfelder.

Some teachers had distinct set ups, coming with chairs, blankets and all sorts of viewing options. Ms. Amy Ritchie created a pinhole camera and held it against the sun over a notebook, allowing the shape of the eclipse to shine through.

Ms. Ritchie’s creative solar eclipse paper view. Photo by Maddie Gamertsfelder.

“I think it is important for all students to have a safe viewing option for the eclipseand it probably helped a lot of parentsso for this experience, you might as well make it cool,” Ritchie said.

“I think it is important for the students to view the eclipse and for them to be on the football field, considering it was my idea. This is a great opportunity for them to view, and I am very excited about it,” Assistant Principal Mr. Greg Kuhn said.