Unforgettable lesson about the solar eclipse


Deasy Elementary students sat calmly on the floor in their classroom watching a slideshow about the upcoming partial eclipse when it happened – the floor began to tremble beneath them. The earthquake, which occurred on April 5, was initially mistaken for ongoing construction at the school because it is a rare event on Long Island.

But the partial solar eclipse, which happened three days after the earthquake, is even more rare for the area. The last total solar eclipse in New York was in 1925 and the next one in the United States will not occur until 2045. New York state was one of 11 states in the contiguous U.S., which fell in the path of totality. Outside of the direct path in Fredonia, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and the Adirondacks, the rest of New York experienced 88.5 to 99.9 percent totality.
Members of the National Science Honor Society, high school seniors Christina Kodis and Thomas Potter volunteered to teach elementary students across the district about the upcoming partial eclipse. It was a memorable and nostalgic experience for them, since both were 11 years old at the time of the partial eclipse in 2017.

Kodis was vacationing with family, and Potter, who is fascinated by outer space and celestial events, was with his parents at the View Grill restaurant in Glen Cove. Both remember the moment vividly and although they were children recall that they didn’t take for granted the rarity of the event.

The two honor society students, who will watch the eclipse at the high school, turned the rare event into an unforgettable lesson for students. Right after the slideshow, the curious students grabbed miniature moons, ping-pong-balls on a stick, and simulated what they would see that Monday right after school.

“This is something people will remember for the rest of their lives,” Kodis said, after her presentation was over. “I remember it, and I was very young for my very first time. I think these kids, even though it’s not happening for another 50 years, I think they’ll definitely remember it. It’s really an experience.”

Potter said he hopes his brief time spent with the students will leave a lasting impression when the next eclipse happens.

“As a young child, seeing something like that, that you never see until you’re going to be senior citizens, they’re going to really remember that as something that was really special,” Potter said. “I hope that they remember being taught about it by us.”