‘It was absolutely stunning:’ US community views eclipse on and off campus

‘It was absolutely stunning:’ US community views eclipse on and off campus

    As the moon obscured the sun’s brilliance, Upper School (US) students gathered in anticipation on Franke Field and the steps of the woodshop, their eyes fixed on the dimming sky surrounded by a hazy glow. Students lay sprawled near the fi eld in clusters, chatting with friends and eagerly gazing upward at the shrinking orange crescent of sun through special eclipse glasses.

    On Monday, April 8, the last total eclipse in the United States until 2044 arrived on the US campus. Some students and faculty ventured north in search of full totality—when the sun is completely obscured by the sun. US Director Jessica Keimowitz enjoyed seeing students bonding and learning together while viewing the eclipse, she said. “The eclipse was a great opportunity for the BB&N community to participate in a nationwide event,” she said. “It was also an opportunity to witness an important astronomical event in real time and in community with each other. In a moment when so many of us bond over shared content that we watch on our own, it was really fun to be able to experience something in real-time, in real life, all together. It’s a good reminder that some of the most wonderous things around us happen far away from a screen!” Before the eclipse began, eventually reaching 92.7% totality in Cambridge, faculty handed out solar- themed snacks, including Sun Chips, Starbursts, and Milky Ways, and eclipse glasses to students to encourage participation in the afternoon event. Several teachers let their students out early to experience and celebrate it. The science department had planned to excuse students early to engage in the community event and educational opportunity, US Science Teacher Dr. Jenn Gatti said. “Science teachers were all planning on having their classes go out during F block to watch the eclipse.” Chloe Rankel ’26 was grateful that so many teachers let their classes go outside, she said. “I appreciated that teachers changed their schedules to let us watch the eclipse. Almost everyone was
outside on the fields, bonding over the rare moment.” In addition, several US clubs led eclipse-related events. Research and
Experiment Club and Girls Advancing in STEM (GAINS) attended an info session led by US Science Teacher Jay Shah. GAINS also gathered to create pinhole cameras to view the eclipse.

      Dr. Shah, who is also the Research and
Experiment Club Advisor, emphasized the
rarity of the event.
“There’s only going to be one perfect eclipse every 18 months when we have this beautiful moment of totality where the sun is entirely blocked by the moon.” Dr. Shah added that eclipses have helped to prove major scientific theories, such as Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Dr. Shah also enjoyed the unique experience of viewing the eclipse from the school, he said.
“It had this kind of dystopian, strange, and eerie feeling. It was lovely but also speaks to how powerful the sun is. Even when that tiny sliver of sun is still present, it lights up the world and provides all the energy that we have for life on Earth.” While the majority of US students stayed at school to watch the eclipse, some traveled north to experience the eclipse in complete totality.

     Denali Weaver ’26 drove to Vermont, where she spent the morning skiing with her family before watching the eclipse in the afternoon. Denali observed drastic changes to her surroundings during the eclipse, she said.
“When the moon was totally in front of the sun, the light turned bright white and formed a perfect ring,” she said. “All of a
sudden, the stars came out, and it became really cold.”
Several teachers drove north, skipping school to view the eclipse in totality. US English Teacher Beth McNamara began planning for the 2024 eclipse 5 years ago. On the Monday of the eclipse, her forethought paid off , she said.

     “It was absolutely stunning,” she said. “I knew it was going to be pretty impressive, but it was even more so than I thought. It was just astonishing to wait in the same place for a bunch of hours and to see the temperature and everything around me change.       The stars came out when the disk of the sun was gone, and the sun’s corona was glowing. Everyone around me was reacting.”
However, not everyone had Ms. Mac’s luck. Misguided by Google Maps, US Math Teacher Chip Rollinson said he hit several traffic jams on the highway. Only 10 minutes away from witnessing the full totality, he watched the eclipse at 99.8% totality from the side of the road. Although he was unable to view a full eclipse, Mr. Rollinson was grateful to have experienced the rare event, he said.
“It truly was worth it since 99.8% totality was still very cool. If I were to do it again, I would have left much earlier and tried to go skiing since seeing totality from a snowy mountaintop in New England is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

    Many US students flocked to Franke Field to view the eclipse, but some stayed inside and took advantage of the free time in other ways. Elsbeth Kasparian ’27 watched the eclipse from the US Library. She thought it was interesting but a little underwhelming, she said.
“It didn’t really make sense to me to just sit out there and wait the entire day just to look at it. I decided that it would probably be a better use of my time to finish my history paper.”
Elsbeth said that although she may not have appreciated the eclipse as much as other students, she still saw it as a special opportunity for community bonding, she said.
“It was still nice that we could all get together with people sitting outside, just enjoying themselves.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Vanguard Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *