Some Missouri school kids received the experience of a lifetime with today’s solar eclipse.  Hundreds of children at Lawson Elementary School in Jefferson City enjoyed the celestial event which passed almost directly over the mid-Missouri town.

A young student at Lawson Elementary School in Jefferson City prepares for the solar eclipse

The eclipse “path of totality” crossed the United States and Missouri in a diagonal direction from northwest to southeast.  The students at Lawson Elementary started a curriculum learning about the eclipse and were grilled on procedures for viewing it from first day of the school year last Thursday.

The school’s Principal, Patricia Tavenner, says there was a tremendous buildup to the event at the school.  “The kids have been crawling the walls excited about this over the last couple of days” said Tavenner.  “Since school started on Thursday, and now here we are on Monday, it has been nothing but procedures, procedures and procedures with the eclipse.”

Fifth grader Anna McDonald was one of nearly 500 students to don special glasses to view the moon crossing in front of the sun.  She said the eclipse was more than she expected.  “It was amazing. There were crickets.  And everything just suddenly got really, really dark.”

The sound of crickets in nearby trees was present from the midway point of the eclipse until several moments after the sun returned.

School kids at Lawson Elementary School in Jefferson City test their eclipse glasses beforehand

Fifth grader Elijah Resonno won’t soon forget the event.  “I think this was the best day of my life” said Resonno.  “It was really cool and satisfying, really satisfying.”

Tavenner says family members joined the kids in a field next to the campus.  “Many parents are here with us today really enjoying it with them.  They brought their bottled water.  They’ve brought their lunch.  Here’s their beach blankets.  The umbrellas, because the sun is beautiful in Jefferson City, Missouri today.”

The eclipse lasted 2:29 seconds in Jefferson City, where 50,000 visitors were expected for the Capital Eclipse Celebration.  Northwest Missouri’s St. Joseph was expected to attract the most tourists in the state for the event, although many people left when heavy rain hit the area beforehand.

The next solar eclipse in 2024 will cross through the southeast portion of the state, with the “path of totality” passing over Poplar Bluff and Cape Girardeau.