Stuyvesant Students Evacuate to View a Solar Eclipse on April 8

Stuyvesant students gathered on April 8 to view a 90 percent totality solar eclipse.

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Stuyvesant students and fellow New Yorkers were able to enjoy 90 percent coverage of the full solar eclipse over North America on April 8. This rare event brought great excitement throughout the school, city, and nation, as seen through social media posts and news coverage regarding the event. For those in New York, the eclipse lasted from approximately 2:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., with the peak coverage occurring at around 3:18 p.m. 

The peak time for viewing the eclipse coincided with 10th period, during which Stuyvesant students were “evacuated” from the building and subsequently dismissed. “We are required to schedule and conduct safety drills for the spring term. One of the safety drills included an evacuation, which fortuitously overlapped with when the eclipse occurred,” Principal Seung Yu said in an e-mail interview. “The timing overlapped with dismissal, so students and staff were allowed to reenter the building at the conclusion of the drill.”

During the evacuation, crowds of Stuyvesant students could be seen forming in areas near the school, most notably Rockefeller Park, to view the celestial spectacle. All students and faculty were equipped with eclipse glasses provided by a donation from Amy Soler, the parent of a class of 2023 alumnus. “I had prepared two ways to view the eclipse: the eclipse glasses and an eclipse projector,” freshman Wenni Lu said. “I think the school [was] kind enough to distribute eclipse glasses for everyone. [The glasses] really made a difference since the eclipse would easily damage your eyes or eyesight.”

Other students received the opportunity to view the eclipse beyond the vicinity of the school. “My experience was very unique,” junior Brandon Waworuntu said in an e-mail interview. “I had a New York City History field trip the day of the eclipse. It ended at City Hall, so [social studies teacher Robert Sandler and some students of the class] decided to stay at City Hall to watch the eclipse. Towards the end of the eclipse, Mayor Adams [showed up]. We watched the end of the eclipse with him.” 

Whether they had prepared in advance to view it, or just caught an impromptu glimpse at this breathtaking sight, this solar eclipse was an unforgettable experience for every Stuyvesant student. “It was really cool,” sophomore Sophie Zhao said. “I was planning [to go early to watch it] because I knew that during the evacuation, there would be a lot of people crowded around like Rockefeller Park, so I wanted to get there first.” 

The next solar eclipse won’t pass over New York for twenty years, which made New Yorkers all the more intent on witnessing this one. “I found out that the next total solar eclipse that New York can see is in 2044,” Zhao said. “So I’d better not [have missed] the eclipse that day, since it’s a really rare event.”