Students Gather At Western Kentucky University To See Total Solar Eclipse

Aug 21, 2017

Credit Becca Schimmel

Approximately 2,000 people gathered at Western Kentucky University’s football stadium to view the total solar eclipse, with the much-anticipated  event bringing in school students from around the region.

Keith Brown, principal at Western Elementary in Ohio County, said he was looking forward to viewing the totality and having his students there to see it as well. 


“This is a lot of fun, I’m really glad Western opened its doors and invited students here. I’m glad we have the crowd we do because the kids are loving it and they’re all over the place,” Brown said.

Brown said the fact WKU provided eclipse glasses to all the students was a big help. He said the students have been learning about the phases of the eclipse, and now they’re able to experience it for themselves.

As the sky darkened and the countdown to the total solar eclipse began people across the stadium held their glasses up, ready to remove them when the rare moment to look at the sun came. The temperature became noticeably cooler, and children screamed out their reactions. The countdown to put glasses back on came, and people stuck around to watch the passing of the rare event.

Louisville resident Virginia Rassman said she was blown away by the experience.

“I couldn’t imagine what it was going to be like and now I can’t imagine that I’ll never see one again. I almost started to cry when they did the countdown and said you have to put your glasses back on,” Rassman said.

Rassman said she hopes to chase after the next eclipse she can find near her.

Students waiting for the total solar eclipse.
Credit Becca Schimmel

Oldham County language arts teacher Chelsea Kauffeld brought about 200 students from her middle school. She said she was looking forward to providing the opportunity for the kids to see the eclipse.

“To learn about the science behind all this but then to say they were here at this event and they can teach other people about it. And that’s something they can look back on and be thankful they had an experience like this,” Kauffeld said.  

Kauffeld said they traveled to Bowling Green early in the morning, and didn’t face much traffic. She says students were mostly concerned with when to wear their glasses, and how they would be able to capture the moment. Angie Deaton, from Franklin, said she wasn’t sure what she was expecting, but her expectations were exceeded.

Crowd gathering in anticipation of the total solar eclipse.
Credit Becca Schimmel

“I couldn’t figure out what was more interesting, to actually watch through the viewer or just to watch the field and actually how dark it got,” Deaton said.

Deaton said now that she’s seen the eclipse, she understands what all the build up was about. As the total solar eclipse faded, small crescent shapes were seen through the shadows of trees and along sidewalks. A variety of eclipse themed t-shirts were on display at L.T. Smith Stadium as people listened to music and took part in activities leading up to and after the event.

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