If anything makes watching the solar eclipse better, it’s watching with hundreds of elementary-aged kids.
Their excitement is contagious and their reactions are priceless.
The Kent School District purchased more than 4,000 eclipse glasses weeks ago, thanks to some forward thinking, allowing every student in the district to experience the eclipse.
At Holden Elementary, the first four days back to school were filled with eclipse talk in many classrooms.
In Miss Susan Louis’ fourth-grade classroom, it was the perfect way to break the “back-to-school” ice.
“Oftentimes, you spend time learning procedures, getting to know each other, but we had a learning purpose right from the outset,” Miss Louis said.
Her class had so many eclipse-related questions, they filled up sheets of papers with “hows” and “whys” ahead of the big day. They even had a scale for students to decided how excited or nervous they were.
Nine-year-old Cherokee Stanley fell on the “very nervous” end of that scale.
“Just cause I don’t want to take any chances, I don’t want to damage my eyes in anyway,” Cherokee said. “What if they would fall off? What if they would stick to my face? What would happen?!”
Cherokee’s questions were answered moments later, when the students — glasses safely on — stepped outside around 2 p.m. to watch the darkened sun.
And in that moment, all of Cherokee’s fears were eclipsed.
“I was just like, wow, wow, this is actually happening!” she said.
Cheers erupted through the playground as the eclipse peaked, some kids singing Final Countdown, others quietly watching.
“It looks like a banana,” added one student.
Most of the kids will be 16 or 17 the next time the solar eclipse occurs in 2024, and they are already looking forward to it.