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Retired Teacher Returns To Alma Middle School For Solar Eclipse

ALMA (KFSM) — The last time people in Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma experienced a solar eclipse was on May 10, 1994. The event comes full circle for retired science teacher Rosemary Blasingame.

“It was about an 80 to 90 percent partial eclipse just like [today],” she said.

Ms. Blasingame taught science at Alma Middle School for 39 years and retired a decade ago.

“When we told the kids when the next one was going to be in 2017, that seemed so far away, but it’s here,” she said.

Blasingame came back to watch a new generation of students see an eclipse for the first time.

“It’s really incredible,” eighth grade student Adrienne Pound said.

In 1994, Alma Middle School students had several tools to view the eclipse, including a plate with pin holes, where you can see the reflection of the eclipse if you face your back towards the sun. 5NEWS also donated 25 safety glasses. Kids could also see the eclipse’s reflection in a cardboard box.

“You can still use those today,” Blasingame said.

However, the 2017 glasses gave a clearer image of the solar eclipse. Teacher Vicky Limbocker called the experience the perfect learning opportunity.

“We’ve had tons of classroom discussion, mostly about the eye and how your pupils dialate and contract depending on what the sun’s doing,” she said.

Our area will be in totality in 2024.

“This is a great one, and I expect the next one to be even better,” Limbocker said.

Students who are now in pre-k, kindergarten and first grade will be in middle school seven years from now.