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South High awed by eclipse

The entire student body got to experience the astonishing event.

South+students+look+up+at+the+sky+with+their+glasses+on+during+the+eclipse%2C+Aug.+21.+
South students look up at the sky with their glasses on during the eclipse, Aug. 21.

South students look up at the sky with their glasses on during the eclipse, Aug. 21.

Nidal Yasir

Nidal Yasir

South students look up at the sky with their glasses on during the eclipse, Aug. 21.

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The United States was able to unite over an extraordinary experience on a broiling and highly-anticipated day in August: the eclipse. Fortunately, St. Louis was in the line of totality, so students at Parkway South High were able to congregate and witness totality together.

Physics teacher Brandon Ashford was in charge of arranging this event. “Well, it was Ms. Busby and I at first, but she left so I was the only one in charge,” said Ashford. “I  had to count over 2000 eclipse  glasses since every single person was going to receive one. I had to account for every single student, teacher, janitor, faculty member, and every single person behind the scenes,” she said.

Students may remember that many people took advantage of the excitement for the eclipse and sold unofficial glasses. This called for a nationwide concern regarding the authenticity of the eclipse glasses.

“The district coordinator purchased the glasses and confirmed that the glasses were legitimate, so I was never too worried that the glasses would be fake,”  Ashford said.

Prior to the eclipse, there were rumors that the event would result in severe disasters leading to the “end of the world.” Several people were terrified of this result, such as junior Lauren Sheridan’s friend.

“I have a Muslim friend whose mom was scared since she thought this was God’s way of punishing humanity,” she explains.

However, she herself brushed off all rumors.

“I heard about the rumors and thought that they were stupid.The world is not going to end just because the moon covers the sun for a few minutes. It’s scientifically impossible and religion has nothing to do with it.” said Sheridan.

Freshman Matt Rogers was not aware of the rumors.

“I could see why people would think that though, since the animals would be confused,” said Rogers.

Once eclipse day arrived, teachers held the responsibility of handing out glasses. Biology teacher Julie Jauss found the responsibility somewhat stressful.

“I was a little concerned that students would lose their glasses and if there were enough for everyone,” she said. “The school did a great job of stressing the fact that every person only got one pair of glasses, and the students handled that well.”

Many of the students were excited for the eclipse. However, the authenticity of the glasses crossed the minds of several South High students, such as Sheridan and sophomore Michael Early.

“It could’ve been a possibility, but the glasses probably wouldn’t be fake,”  said Early.

Sheridan thought the same thing.

“I wasn’t terrified though,” she said.

Rogers said he was slightly more concerned about going blind than Early and Sheridan.

“Yes, I was worried about going blind during totality,” he said.

Ashford and Jauss said that they trusted the students, knowing that they had “common sense” and “would use their best judgement”.  

“There were many reminders not to look at the sun and the students handled that well. Mr. Hachmeister did a great job emceeing the event on the loudspeaker and informing everyone about safety and the stages of the eclipse,”  said Jauss.

Some students, such as Sheridan,  believed that the eclipse matched the excitement for it, whereas others like Rogers and Early did not.

“I thought it lived up to the hype,” she said. “ I know a lot of people didn’t think so, but I think it did. I mean, it didn’t go entirely dark during totality, but the glimmering during totality was gorgeous.”

Early also thought that the Eclipse was cool but he expected much more, such as total darkness during totality.  Rogers had a different perspective than the two.

“It’s like it didn’t even happen,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect and I have never  seen anything like it.”  

Teachers such as Jauss were surprised by the students’  behavior.

“I was expecting the students to be crazy during the eclipse, since it was an exceptional event and all of the students were together with their friends. It was nothing like that. The students stayed with their group and did a good job taking in the special moment. I wanted the event to be calm, and I was happy that there were no disciplinary issues.”

Furthermore, Ashford and Jauss were left “speechless” by the eclipse and found it to be “awe-inspiring”.

“The experience is hard to describe,” said Jauss. “I don’t know how to explain it- it was like nothing I have ever seen before. It was so special and amazing, and it made me feel like this insignificant small person.”

Ashford said that she so elated due to the fact that all of her hard work paid off.

“It was an amazing experience- the most amazing and powerful experience I have ever had as a teacher. I got to watch the eclipse from the press box, and I took a big breath during the eclipse. I was yelling,screaming,and jumping up and down during the event. I still get goosebumps and chills! It was an awesome and special day,” she said.

For Sheridan, the eclipse experience only strengthened her interests.

“I have always wanted to take an astronomy class, and the eclipse has made the astronomy class more apparent to take. I want to take astronomy in college, and I’m really looking forward to doing so. This experience made me more excited for photography, which I’m taking next semester. The eclipse didn’t spark any new interests, it just made me want to access all of the opportunities South High has to offer,” she said.

The 2017 eclipse has made both students and teachers look forward to the next eclipse in 2024. However, they wish to do some things differently for this eclipse.

Jauss said, “The 2024 eclipse will be on Monday, April 8th in Carbondale. Totality will last for four minutes! I’d like to be higher up this time so I can see everything around me and have an unobstructed view.”

Sheridan said, “I don’t want to be in school for the 2024 eclipse so I can take pictures with my equipment.”

“I’m not going to see the 2024 eclipse.”  Early said.

After the eclipse experience, teachers such as Jauss are grateful to Ashford for her hard work.

“Thank you Ms. Ashford,” Jauss said. “The experience was better than I could ever imagine. I’m looking forward to the 2024 eclipse, and I hope that it will not rain on April 8th.”

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South High awed by eclipse