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Students at Jornada Elementary School take creative approaches to viewing eclipse

While many eclipse-watchers used solar glasses to view the phenomena, students at Jornada Elementary School in Las Cruces grabbed handmade crafts to get a glimpse of the once-in-a-lifetime event.

“As an educator, I truly believe that children are just natural scientists,” said Irma Dominguez, who teaches second grade. “It’s very rewarding for me as an educator to provide this opportunity for them. and for them to actually smile and see this.”

Hundreds of students were involved in the true school-wide effort, led by the school’s principal, Vangie Barela.

“We thought it would just be a fascinating thing for our students to see live,” Barela said. “I believe we had a great turnout.”

Barela said the school sent home a letter to parents explaining their plan for tackling the event. The students of the parents who did not wish to participate were able to view the eclipse in the cafeteria via NASA’s livestream.

“We made sure we had a safe space for them,” Barela said.

The school’s playground was filled with children googling at the sun, many with donated glasses in addition to the handmade crafts.

The teachers agreed: Their students had to see it to believe it!

“It’s like one of those ‘aha’ moments, you know, that you can just say, my students are really learning through hands-on activities,” Dominguez said.

“I kept reminding them that we weren’t going to get to see this for many, many years,” said Elizabeth Ynosencio, who teaches bilingual students. “We had to take advantage of the opportunity.”

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