Students were gifted with the opportunity of viewing the Great American solar eclipse Aug. 21 due in part to former NHS astronomy teacher Mr. Thomas.

Without the proper eclipse glasses it would be damaging to viewers’ eyesight, even though at the 78% totality Naples experienced. However, thanks to Mr. Thomas, NHS was granted with 1800 pairs of eclipse glasses for students.

Finding proper eye protection for the rare occasion wasn’t easy to come by. Many vendors ran out of stock and others advertised glasses that were not rated to view the sun safely.  Luckily, Mr. Thomas’ forward planning made sure these were not issues for the Naples High School student body.

“There was high anticipation in my classes,” Josh Gordon said. “I had multiple teachers talk about the importance of the eclipse and how I can stay safe by using my glasses to look at the sun.”

After dismissal students were scattered around campus with their eyes turned skyward using their glasses to glimpse the eclipse.

The partial eclipse began in Collier County at about 1:30 p.m. and ended about 4:20 p.m., which lined up with many outdoor school activities such as sports practices and P.E. classes. Collier County Public Schools arranged for sports classes to be cancelled, P.E. classes to be held inside, and decided to follow the “rainy day” dismissal procedure in order to protect students.

This year’s eclipse allowed for totality to experienced in 17 different states, and a partial eclipse in the remaining 33 states. The last solar eclipse to pass over the U.S. was on June 8th, 1918. Another solar eclipse isn’t predicted to occur in the United States until April of 2024, and again in August of 2045.