Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Perry-Lecompton Students Travel to Troy to View Total Solar Eclipse

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Perry-Lecompton Students Travel to Troy to View Total Solar Eclipse

Article excerpt

TROY -- Clouds and some rain obstructed the view of Monday's total solar eclipse in Troy, a Doniphan County town about 14 miles west of St. Joseph, Mo.

But students from Jefferson County's Perry-Lecompton Unified School District 343 marveled at it anyway, with second-grade through high-school students erupting in delighted yells and exclamations of amazement as they gazed upward from the track and football field outside Troy Middle/High School, 319 S. Park St.

Some districts' plans called for structuring lesson plans around the eclipse, viewing a live video stream or allowing students to view the phenomenon at school. Others chose to cancel classes because of concerns about liability. But USD 343 officials began planning an eclipse field trip in March, purchasing eclipse glasses for students and teachers well in advance and pinning down the viewing location. They said Monday they didn't know of any other districts that took that approach.

Superintendent J.B. Elliott said making the trip to the path of totality in extreme northeast Kansas was a feat unlikely for larger districts to attempt.

Elliott said the district used 15 buses and seven vans to transport about 550 students to Troy for the viewing. The trip wasn't mandatory, he said, so students and parents could choose whether the students would attend. He was impressed by the number of students who chose to do so.

"That's really amazing," Elliott said. "I said that to a teacher earlier -- I said, 'I'm really surprised how many parents and kids chose to come on this, knowing that they could have stayed home from school today and stayed home with their mom or dad and done stuff individually, but they chose to come to a school event.' "

After eating an early outdoor lunch, younger students rotated through several learning stations set up along the edge of the football field.

At one station, high-school seniors Jacalyn Supernaw-Marcum and Cara Coleman, students in Eryn Moland's physics class, explained how sunscreen protects skin from the effects of UVA and UVB rays. Using UVA and UVB sensors, the high-schoolers showed the kids how effectively three different sunscreens -- including a spray variety -- blocked harmful ultraviolet radiation. …

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