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2024 Eclipse
Posted in on April 9, 2024

Schools celebrate eclipse day

Monday was a big day for everyone as the Arlington ISD was in the middle of the path of totality for the solar eclipse, and the district made sure that no one missed out.

Whether it was launching a weather balloon for NASA like a student at the STEM Academy at Martin High School did or handling out astronomy-themed treats like Arlington ISD staff members did or making sure students had their eclipse glasses on when they were outside like every school did, the district was ready for the big day.

And once the clouds parted enough for everyone to see it, the sky put on a show that no one will soon forget.

“How often do our students get to experience a true once-in-a-lifetime moment?” said Arlington ISD superintendent Dr. Matt Smith, who watched the eclipse with the students at Jones Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language. “It was special to get to share this day with students and staff. We were prepared for it, and it was certainly a day I’ll never forget.”

Solar eclipse photo shot by Spence

He’s not alone.

Martin High School students gathered outside to watch the eclipse, and there were gasps and cheers just after 1:40 p.m. when day turned to night and the street lights in the area clicked on for a few minutes.

While that was happening, STEM Academy student Londyn Franklin had her eyes on the sky for another reason. Franklin spent last summer as an intern in NASA’s STEM Enhancement in Earth Sciences program.

She launched a tethered balloon for NASA to measure how the eclipse impacted certain aspects of the weather. Franklin planned to collect the data and send it back to NASA Monday night.

Like just about everyone else, Franklin thought she was prepared for what to expect during the eclipse. It surpassed her expectations.

“I knew it was going to get dark,” she said. “I didn’t know it was going to get there. That was amazing.”

Student amazed by EclipseAmazing is the best way to describe what happened. Teachers throughout the district were able to use the eclipse and weave it into lesson plans leading up to the big day. They brought students outside for the eclipse and after a cloudy morning, the skies began to clear in time for everyone to see it. Students and staff members were in chairs and on blankets or just standing in awe at what they were seeing. Everyone watching at Patrick Elementary got a bonus as they could see the fireworks from Six Flags that went off to celebrate the eclipse.

At Hill Elementary, it was an all-out party. Students, teachers and parents spread out along the track with blankets and their eclipse glasses. Some teachers handed out Oreos while DJ Mike – normally known as Eric Knight, the STEM lab manager – played sun-related tunes.

“I’m pretty well known on the elementary circuit,” joked Knight, who is also a parent of students in the district.

What was he playing for the once-in-lifetime lawn party?

“‘Here Comes the Sun,’ ‘Steal my Sunshine,’ ‘Blinded by the Light’ … I’m taking requests, too,” Knight said.

But once totality came, the soundtrack became the students’ gasps and excited cheers.

When the moon moved and the midday night ended, students were still thrilled.

“I had seen a partial eclipse before, but this was twice as better as that – no 20 times better than that,” said a Hill student.

Another Hill student couldn’t stop jumping up and down.

“It was really, really cool because it went all dark like night,” she shouted. “And it was the best day ever!”

Want to see how the district celebrated? You can see images from across the district here.