The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Solar Eclipse Awes Sutter Elementary School Community

The energy was palpable at Sutter Elementary School on Monday morning. Kids swarmed onto the blacktop, bouncing and screaming, but it wasn’t your typical recess that caused all the excitement. It was the solar eclipse.

“I think it’s very interesting with the glasses because you can’t see anything except that shining bright sun,” said Elsa, 11.

“I think it’s cool. It’s kind of like the moon except it’s orange,” said Anvi, 11.


Cool was a sentiment echoed throughout the playground. First graders stepped onto the blacktop and immediately brought their glasses to their eyes, a chorus of “It’s so cool,” soon followed.

Fourth-grader Hazel elaborated a bit more on what made the event so exciting.

“I think it’s pretty cool because we can all view it as a class and give each other insights,” said Hazel, 10.

Her brother Jude, 7, described an art project the class did in preparation for the event.

“Our art project, one with the sun and the moon and the Earth and it could actually spin like a clock,” said Jude.

Younger brother Daon, 4, attended the event with their mom so they could share in the fun as a family.

The excitement has been building for weeks at Sutter. The school’s science teacher, Shona Blizzard, integrated it into her lesson plans. Younger kids learned about the moon, the sun and the Earth and how they all worked together to create a sight that won’t be seen in Santa Clara for another 20 years.

“We learned that the moon goes in front of the sun, and it gets dark,” said Alexxiana, 6.

Older students learned about how trees can cast perfect shadows of the eclipse and animals react differently.

“I had a whole bunch of fourth graders that were like, ‘Where are the leaves?’ and so we had to find the only tree with leaves that shone on the blacktop,” said Blizzard with a laugh.

“Sometimes, when it’s totality, it turns darker, and animals behave differently,” said Hazel “Crickets start to chirp. Songbirds, how they in the morning, they start singing, stop singing and go back to their nest.”

Sutter Principal Michael Fong credits kindergarten teacher Mary Garrett with spearheading the idea.

“I just thought…it’s going to be a great shared experience,” said Garrett when asked what inspired the idea. “You know, something that they’ll remember. Something that we can also take back into our classrooms. It will be great for narrative writing. It would be great for science lessons, which we did.”

While Garrett was the mastermind of the community event, everyone contributed. The PTA donated the solar glasses for the students to use and had extras for volunteers and family members the day of.

Meanwhile, PE teacher George Casem worked on a music playlist that featured classics like Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Stevie Wonder’s “Here Comes the Sun” and KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Walking on Sunshine.”

From parents to staff to students, everyone at Sutter Elementary had a great time watching the solar eclipse.

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