Palatine High School throws solar eclipse party for students in football stadium

John Garcia Image
Monday, April 8, 2024
Palatine high school throws eclipse party for students in football stadium
In the middle of the day, 2,600 students at Palatine High School left their classrooms behind and gathered in the football stadium to watch the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2024

PALATINE, Ill. (WLS) -- In the middle of the day Monday, 2,600 Palatine High School students left their classrooms behind and headed to the football stadium for some real life education on solar eclipses.

Astronomy students have been studying eclipses, but there's nothing like a live, in-person experience.

"I just like that the whole school is out here together to watch the same thing happen. And it's not gonna happen again for 20 years," said junior Caraline Keller.

With songs like "Total Eclipse of the Heart" playing over the speakers, there was a party atmosphere in the stadium. For astronomy teacher Sean Fisher-Rhode, this is a big deal, like having Christmas and a birthday all at once.

READ MORE: Illinois, Indiana see total solar eclipse

"This is something a lot of people will keep with them their whole life," he said.

Students looked through special eclipse glasses, spellbound as they watched it unfold and it darkened near the peak coverage time of 2:07 p.m. Not only was it darker, it was colder and windier as well.

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For educators, this is a rare opportunity for real life learning experiences, and Principal Tony Medina was not about to let it pass them by.

"The importance of something like this happening in their lifetime and also celebrating it and connecting it to their learning," he said.

Fisher-Rohde travelled to Kentucky to watch the 2017 eclipse, but today he wanted to share it with his students at the school where he's spent nearly a quarter century.

"I didn't want to leave these guys. I wanted to be here. I wanted to share this with the community I really care about," he said.

And the community will be sharing stories of this day for years to come.