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High School Students View Eclipse From Football Field
Eclipse training
RHS students receive solar eclipse training, how to use their viewing glasses, prior to being dismissed to the football field to witness the eclipse firsthand on Monday. They got to experience approximately 75-percent of totality here in the Central Valley. Ric McGinnis/The News

Like millions of people across the country, local high school students on Monday were able to view the solar eclipse, which was a partial eclipse here in Riverbank.

Working on a special schedule, students took a break between second and third periods to assemble briefly in the main gym on Monday, Aug 21.

Racing against time, the Science Club and its advisors had handed out special solar viewing glasses as they came in. They then instructed the students in how to use them to see the eclipse.

The totality of the obliteration of the sun by the moon passing in front of it was farther north, then followed a path that took it across the midwest and the southeast. In Riverbank, the covering reached about 75-percent, at about 10:17 a.m., but the sky didn’t darken much. The encroachment, both before peak and after, lasted about an hour.

The high school had planned for this event long ago, said Dr. Sean Richey, RHS Principal, but he told the students before the viewing that the district had ordered only 700 pairs of the special eclipse-viewing glasses. The student body turned out to be significantly larger, so he told students they would have to share during the actual event.

The RHS Science Club provided a brief bit of training in how to use the glasses in an assembly, then students were dismissed to the football field, where they could view the event without obstruction.

Students at Cardozo Middle School were not invited to view en masse on their campus, and California Avenue Elementary students were specifically kept indoors during the eclipse, according to officials.

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was on June 8, 1918. An eclipse was visible in Northern California in February 1979. The path of the totality this time was expected to touch 14 states.

Live coverage of the event could be found on many TV stations, several of which tracked the eclipse as it made its way from west to east across the country on Monday.