WASHINGTON COUNTY - Monday's solar eclipse resulted in a unique educational experience for Washington County students as local schools made an event out of the natural phenomenon.
While the Florida Panhandle was not in the path of totality, Chipley and Vernon schools made the event … well, an event.
With safety and education being the foremost concern, Roulhac Middle School called a student assembly to distribute safety viewing glasses, review safety procedures, and to discuss the scientific and natural aspects of the eclipse.
Students then were released to the solar celebration outside, where Principal Nancy Holley shared interesting facts about the eclipse over a loud speaker as students enjoyed music and "solar ice" (sno-cones) distributed by The Washington County Green Dot organization.
Vernon Elementary took advantage of the opportunity to teach students as well, with third grade teacher Judy Griffis distributing safety viewing glasses, showing students photos from an eclipse that occurred in the 1990s, and explaining more about what happened during an eclipse. Zedra Hawkins of the Washington County Public Library and VES Principal Steve Griffin joined in the fun, taking a moment to experience the moment with students.
Early education centers also educated students on the eclipse, with students at Kid's World of Chipley, Inc. taking class time to use what they learned about the event to draw what they thought the eclipse would look like.
With only about an 85 percent obstruction, the eclipse was the first visible from the Florida Panhandle since 1979, but during the Aug. 12, 2045 eclipse, the Panhandle will be in the path of totality.