(COVINGTON, La.) Living in Louisiana, St. Paul’s students have grown accustomed to dim skies in the afternoon as frequent summer showers roll through campus. That said, as the sunlight gradually dissipated Monday afternoon (Aug. 21), anxiousness arose in the classrooms with the arrival of what is being hailed as “The Great American Solar Eclipse.”
“We were all excited,” junior Daniel Weiseneck said, “including the teacher. Everyone was piling up against the door to see it.”
The last total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. occurred over 90 years ago, and today’s eclipse will be the last visible to this area until 2024. In observance of this extremely rare occasion, the St. Paul’s administration set aside 20 minutes after third period for students to view the eclipse at its peak, which from SPS campus was estimated at 77 percent coverage. One grade level at a time was released from their classrooms and directed to Founder’s Circle, where teachers and administrators began handing out protective viewing glasses.
“I’m just happy I got to see it,” senior Forge Mathes said. “Knowing that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience made the whole thing pretty cool.”
On their return to classes, students walked through an eerily lit campus, careful to keep their eyes from wandering towards the eclipse.
“The whole campus looked like the sepia edit on an iPhone,” junior Hyde Healy said. “All of it really gave me the urge to look up, like the forbidden fruit.”
On the bright side, there have been no complaints of any irritations to students’ eyes, a common complication that can come from looking at the eclipse without proper eye protection. The next solar eclipse visible to Louisianans will follow a course that is near-perpendicular to the 2017 path, putting St. Paul’s in a closer proximity, and will be but the third cosmic shadow cast over the 106-year-old school.
Video credit: Luc Hebert Photo credits: Luc Hebert, Forge Mathes, Mimi Monteiro, Christi Simoneaux