Elaine McCarthy and Jess McMasters have been friends for a long time. Many years ago, they were a dynamic team at St. Cecilia (Grammar) School. And after Saints closed in 2002, they’d go on to Lincoln School, Kearny, together.
And all these years later, they’re still the best of friends and they’re still doing great things with their students.
So it should really come as no surprise the two dear friends together put on an eclipse-viewing party at Lincoln School on Monday, Aug. 21. And their initial goal of getting around 100 people to attend — they doubled that.
“We were really hoping for about 100 people and we had (eclipse) glasses for 100 people,” McMasters said. “Look around. We definitely doubled that. We ran out of glasses!”
Running out of glasses might have been the best thing for the event, too, McMasters says.
“The one thing that did was it allowed people to share,” McMasters said of the 100 pair of eclipse glasses. It was so awesome to see people passing around the glasses, taking turns, sharing. It was beyond anything we thought could happen.”
But it indeed happened.
And for 8-year-old Jamie, at the event with his mom, getting to see the sun and the eclipse with the glasses was far out.
“That was so cool,” Jamie said. “My mom, she always tells me not to look up at the sun. But with the glasses, I could look right at the sun. It was so cool to see the sun and then to see it blocked by the moon.”
And indeed, at the eclipse’s peak, 72% of the sun was blocked by the moon. So while it wasn’t a total eclipse here in Jersey as it was in, say, South Carolina, it was still enough to make a noticeable difference for the onlookers.
Though it didn’t get really dark, there was a noticeable change in the shadows being cast. There was almost a greyish look to everything. When the moon started to give way to the sun, one could definitely feel the warmth of the sun increasing.
And all of this made for a great few hours for all assembled, according to McCarthy.
“The parents loved it, the kids loved it, other adults loved it, and it was such a great day,” McCarthy said. “It was wonderful for the kids to gain the knowledge they did — and their curiosity was great.”
Like McMasters, McCarthy was also impressed by everyone’s willingness to share their eclipse glasses.
Superintendent of Schools Patricia Blood stopped by the party, too, and was she ever impressed.
“Isn’t this great,” Blood said. “It’s wonderful to see our kids so into this — and it’s equally as great to see our science teachers giving back so much to the kids on their own time. We have such a strong science program here — and such great teachers.
“I couldn’t be more proud.”