Wedged neatly between planning for the coming start of school and greeting families picking up class schedules, faculty members at Roy J. Smith Middle School in Killeen took some time Monday for an eclipse.
About 23 people – middle school STEM Academy faculty with a few guests - stepped into the home side stands at the new school’s stadium, where they followed the progression of the solar eclipse.
As the teachers and Killeen ISD STEM Director Cynthia Hodges gathered at the edge of the school cafeteria to head outside, science teacher Connie Cox couldn’t hide her excitement.
She said she was near tears as she shared live coverage of the celestial event as it came to totality through Idaho and trekked eastward.
Hodges gathered the faculty of the district’s new middle school STEM Academy, located at the just-built Smith Middle School, to experience the eclipse together.
“This seems to put a smile on our inaugural year,” Hodges said of the fortunate timing.
A longtime science teacher in KISD, Cox picked up the protective glasses and she made paper pinhole projectors for her colleagues to use.
“I loved it,” Cox said. “I am so excited that (Hodges) pulled us together. We all think so differently and we are excited.”
The uniqueness of the event, she said, was enough to get her fired up to catch a peak.
“You will probably have a chance to see four or five eclipses in your life, but just one or two total eclipses,” Cox explained.
“This is a great opportunity to take a break and to remember this day,” she said, noting that pairs of eclipse glasses will likely be included in a planned school time capsule.
Even though the event happened a week before the start of school in Killeen, Cox said it would still be a teachable moment to discuss during the first week of school.
The school-within-a-school academy has drawn a group of 422 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from across Killeen ISD. They were chosen based on application and a lottery.
The new Roy J. Smith Middle School in south Killeen off Bunny Trail is expected to open this year with about 1,250 students, including the STEM Academy. The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 28.
August 21, 2017