World Academy students in awe of solar eclipse

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World Academy students gazing up in amazement at the solar eclipse on April 8. Courtesy photo/World Academy

NASHUA – Donning their protective eyewear, students at World Academy watched in amazement as the moon passed between the Earth and the sun on the afternoon of April 8.

Parents and faculty led third grade students to the soccer field behind the school shortly before 3:30 p.m.That was when the solar eclipse was expected to reach its peak with 92 percent of the sun being obscured.

The real excitement began when the first grade students arrived on the field expressing pure joy and innocent wonder that only comes from young children. As daylight gradually gave way to twilight, the first graders became even more ecstatic and began chanting: “no sun” and “go away sun.”

Another student described how the temperature began to change, saying: “It got cold while we were out there, it was so cool.”

Head of School Dr. Lisa Dias said the students spent the prior week learning about the rare celestial event.

“It was awesome to see the Science Department really dive in,” she said.

Dr. Nahla El Falaky, head of the Science Department, had been teaching her third and fourth grade students about the eclipse process. She said that for those few minutes, it would be possible to see the sun’s solar flares and a phenomenon known as Baily’s beads.

Named after English astronomer Francis Baily, Baily’s beads are caused by the scabrous topography of the lunar surface. During a solar eclipse, the moon’s landscape can block the light from parts of the sun’s outer atmosphere creating a bead-like effect.

El Falaky said she also told her students that a solar eclipse is not a common occurrence.

“I told them ‘by the next one, you’ll be adults,’” she said.

According to the Planetary Society, the next total solar eclipse visible from the U.S, will be in August 2044. By that time, El Falaky’s students will be in their early-30s.

Community Engagement Manager Jenny Maxwell said the academy’s teachers always have a plethora of resources to use in the curriculum.

“Our faculty are empowered to design opportunities for our kids,” she said.

Daniel Hughes, director of technology and engineering, said he appreciated that the administration extended the school day to allow students to view the eclipse.

“They all got to experience it together,” he said. “It shows what the school is all about.”

Affectionately known as LEGOMAN Dan, Hughes also created a Lego model showing how the moon moves between the sun and the Earth during an eclipse.

Parent Ashley Dumont echoed Hughes’ sentiments.

“I am so glad that I was able to come and experience the eclipse with my child,” she said. “I am grateful that the school extended the day so we could do this together.”



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