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Students watch eclipse outside of school

Photographed by Mahika Mushuni
The famous “wedding ring” can be seen as the sun emerges in the wake of totality in De Soto, Mo.

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For nearly a month, the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse has been a hot topic in most discussions. It was the first solar eclipse visible in the contiguous US since Feb. 26, 1979 according to NASA, along with being the first time in 148 years that totality was visible from MO as reported by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Around 74.9 percent of MHS students chose to see the event at school, according to the attendance office. Others sought alternative locations to view totality.

Sophie Schoedinger, senior, made the 40-minute drive to St. Clair, Mo with seniors Zack Lesmeister and Jordan Shatto.

“I have been planning on going to St. Clair for weeks,” Schoedinger said. “I wanted to experience the solar eclipse in the best place, with the best view.”

Schoedinger and her friends waited for hours before the big event, occasionally glancing up at the sun to check the progress of the moon as it approached totality.

“About 20 minutes before totality, we noticed how weird the lighting looked. It looked as if someone had put a gray transparent blanket over the Earth,” Schoedinger said.

For nearly three minutes, Schoedinger and those around her viewed totality in what she described as a breathtaking and magical experience.

“Totality occurred and the entire town cheered. I took lots of pictures and videos,” Schoedinger said. “Overall it was a really awesome experience and I’m really happy I got to witness it.”

While Schoedinger went out of town to watch the eclipse, other students chose to stay home.

Shalini Yagnik, sophomore, viewed the phenomenon from her own backyard.

“I didn’t go to school because we had gotten a few pairs of the glasses at home,” Yagnik said. “[I] felt it would be a better experience to be able to watch it at home rather than at school.”

Yagnik said the opportunity to watch the event with her family made it even more special.

“I was amazed at how quickly the movement was happening and how the sun looked when the moon was directly over it,” Yagnik said. “I was able to hear the excitement from my family and neighbors as we all watched this historic event.”

Like Yagnik, Jillian Bunderson, sophomore, stayed home during the eclipse to experience it with her loved ones.

“My family made these plans last week because we found out that it was an excused absence,” Bunderson said. “I wanted to enjoy the eclipse with my family.”

Although Bunderson didn’t travel far for the eclipse, the enormity of the spectacle was not lost on her.

“A solar eclipse all across the United States is a big deal,” Bunderson said. “Especially when it’s so local.”

For Bunderson, the hype surrounding the eclipse did not disappoint.

“Everything slowly got darker, the cicadas started screaming, and the birds started singing their evening songs,” Bunderson said. “During totality when I could actually take off my glasses, it was amazing to see the halo of light coming out from behind the moon. It was an unforgettable sight.”

________

RSD safety precautions pre-eclipse:

RSD ensures safety during eclipse

Students and faculty reflect on eclipse:

Students and faculty reflect on eclipse

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Students watch eclipse outside of school