A total eclipse of the sun


Emilee Luedke

Principal Scott Crenshaw and Vice Principal Scott Carson view the eclipse.

Dyllan Jones, Editor

On August 21, 2017, the school attendees of our small town watched in (relative) silence as Earth and its surrounding celestial bodies hung in the balance. The moon “blotted out the sun” on this day — and this time, that phrase isn’t just a figure of speech.


A solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon in which the Earth’s moon utterly obscures the sun by passing in front of it. The viewable coverage of the moon differs by location, but this year something very fortuitous happened: a significant chunk of the United States had full view of the spectacle. If you’ve heard the phrase “once-in-a-lifetime” to describe this event, that’s because the last time a solar eclipse occurred across the country on this scale was nearly a century ago.


Iola promised to have a decent view of the display, so students were given the opportunity to view it themselves. While students’ reactions proved mostly neutral, and some were even mildly annoyed because they would rather not lose the last few minutes or so minutes of their fifth block class, others were notably fascinated in the eclipse purely for its novelty value. Special-purpose solar filters, otherwise known as “eclipse glasses”, were used to protect the eyes of all students and faculty who viewed the event.

Emilee Luedke
Principal Scott Crenshaw and Vice Principal Scott Carson view the eclipse.


“It was underwhelming,” said senior Morgan Jett about the affair, who expected, in his own words, a “divine revelation.” On a more serious note, he found the display to be less exciting than anticipated.


Another senior, Nathan Sprague, felt similarly. He saw the eclipse as “disappointing.”


The faculty’s interest seemed to primarily focused on the safety of those involved. Staff reactions proved less varied than those of the students’, and seemed generally hopeful that the eclipse would be noteworthy enough to justify lost class time.


Unfortunately, many Iolans believed that the end result was much less glorious than some had made it out to be. If the totality of Iola’s view happened to be just a little more impressive — sun coverage by the moon was around 90% for us — perhaps local reception would have been more positive. Whether most IHS students saw the end result of the eclipse as a disappointment or not, the hype leading up to the phenomenon was nothing short of astounding.


The next American solar eclipse will take place on April 8, 2024, only 7 years after the last.