The Student News Site of North Polk High School

The Orbit

The Student News Site of North Polk High School

The Orbit

The Student News Site of North Polk High School

The Orbit

Eclipses of the Past, Present and Future

Reflections of my life viewed in the timeline of eclipses.
Photo of Zoe and I viewing the solar eclipse.

On April 8th of 2024, classrooms all over the North Polk district were emptied outside for a rare chance to view a solar eclipse. An event that will not occur again for around 20 years, students and teachers alike donned eclipse glasses to make the viewing of this event safe. As a high school student, the last time an event like this occurred we were in elementary school and the next one will be as adults. Solar eclipses have marked some of the most major fundamental stages of a current high schooler’s life. As I reflected on this infrequent occurrence I wondered where I would be in my life during the next solar eclipse. 

Solar Eclipse of the Past- 2017

I can still visualize myself standing in front of the Polk City Community Library with eclipse glasses in hand surrounded by my younger sibling and other members of our town to view the eclipse. In 2017 I was 10 years old and was enrolled in 5th grade, my last year of elementary school. 

At this point in my life, I was still dressing like a highlighter and wore an ugly bun to school every day, but I was not at an age where I cared about how I looked yet. My biggest concern was if my friends and I would ever beat the “Grab Them By the Eyes” video game located on CoolMathGames. 

Today I am forced to study for tests that feel as though they determine my future because they determine my college which then determines my job, my future paycheck, my home and many more aspects of my life.

Despite still technically being a kid, I feel like my years as a kid ended a long time ago. Not only did I lose the ability to order mac and cheese from the kid’s menu, but I also lost leisure time and the ability to take a breath without stressing about what I should be doing instead. 

I was not excited for the solar eclipse of 2017, I was not excited that I could run around with friends until the streetlights came on and I was not excited that my life was not affected by the choices I made then.

I wish now I was excited about the eclipse and for every other moment of freedom and fun I was given as a kid because life was easy and as all of the cliche sayings imply, life goes by a little too quickly.

Solar Eclipse of the Present- 2024

The solar eclipse was at its peak during my 5th hour AP Government class and as the class waited for Mr. Albertsen to enter the classroom, we discussed our plan to convince him to view the eclipse instead of going over another dreaded Free-Response Question to prepare for our AP exam.

When Mr. Albertsen entered the room and we said our spiel and he gave us three minutes to find and borrow enough eclipse glasses for our class to view it. We came up with five glasses and we went outside in shifts. Luckily enough, my shift was at the peak of the eclipse and I was able to view something that will not occur again until I am 37 years old.

While outside, I took lots of pictures with friends to commemorate the moment and made sure I took in every second of that period of time. I will admit I glanced at the sun without glasses for a bit too long to see if I would be able to view the eclipse without glasses (spoiler: I could not). I walked around with a headache for the rest of the day but at least I can say I took in every aspect. 

This time I was grateful to see the eclipse as I am not guaranteed the next 20 years which was a thought that did not occur to me in 2017. 

Solar Eclipse of the Future- 2044

I have many goals to accomplish before 2044: I want to go backpacking again, graduate from college, have a family and be better at appreciating life’s little moments.

Hopefully, I live to see another solar eclipse and hopefully, when that eclipse happens I remember the past eclipses and reflect on where I am then. The future is one of the scariest things to think about and I have no idea what it will hold. Right now I feel everything I do has a direct impact on what my future looks like and maybe it will. However, instead of living with such immense pressure that I know affects other teens as well I should attempt to live in the moment.

Each moment of my life should be spent living in the moment rather than the future and while I cannot help but stress over everything now, I hope I and other people my age can think that way during the eclipse of 2044.

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Addy Happ, Newspaper Editor

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