Catching a Glimpse

Science Teacher Provides Students With Tools Needed to View Eclipse


Photo by (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

A total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Elizabeth Freeman, Staff Writer

Pushing the door open, students are instantly encompassed with warm rays of sunshine. Cautiously walking forward, they rely on what little sense of sight they have. Some choose to shield their tender eyes from the rays, while some simply stare at the cement. It was the day of the solar eclipse and, although Whitehouse was not in the ribbon of totality, students managed to still catch a glimpse of what could be seen.

Astronomy teacher Mr. Jeff Overbay invited students and teachers to view the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, in the outside eating area. He provided two telescopes, and protective glasses for those who did not bring a pair of their own.

“We sent out the invitation to all of the teachers to bring [their] students out to watch the eclipse, and then we did it during lunch with the expectation that anybody could come out and observe,” Overbay said. ”I just wanted to make it something that anybody could observe or could participate in because this will only happen once while [the student body is] in high school.”

Students were able to view the eclipse within their class period when their teachers brought them outside. They were also able to view it by themselves during lunch.

“It was definitely a pretty neat experience,” junior Jarrett Carnes said. “It was different for me than I had ever seen or noticed before. From like, just the teacher’s perspective, I just thought it was very generous.”

Teachers, such as Student Council sponsor Ms. Randi Shaw,  took students outside to view the eclipse when it was at its prime. She and the Student Council officers utilized the glasses and telescopes that were provided.

“Their reactions [were] obviously like ‘hey this is pretty cool’ and some of them were like ‘where’s the glasses,’” Shaw said. “ My reaction was ‘Am I actually going to see anything?’ [Then] I looked up and was like ‘oh my god!’”

In seven years, Tyler will be in the ribbon of totality and will experience the full effects of a solar eclipse. Knowing this, Mrs. Shaw decided to spread the word.

“I started telling people [that] in seven years we’ve got a whole coverage coming here, so there’s another one to look forward to,” Shaw said. “I was like, ‘Hey guys, if you think this is awesome in seven years wait and see what happens!’”

With the involvement that Overbay had during the past solar eclipse, teachers and students are now looking forward to the eclipse in seven years. Just by doing his job, Overbay has left a legacy for future generations, and has continued his love for teaching.

“I got a lot of ‘thank yous’ from the kids and honestly, that’s the kind of thing that makes it all worthwhile,” Overbay said. “As a science teacher, when you get kids that ‘ooo’ and ‘aww’ over something, you know that you’ve done something right.”