For Immediate Release
Posted: March 13, 2024


Kim Houghton, Communications Administrator
(603) 513-3030 |

A perfectly rare teaching moment on April 8

The upcoming event of a lifetime is inspiring educators

CONCORD, NH — The educational significance of a total solar eclipse cannot be measured, according to New Hampshire teachers who are eager for their students to witness what some describe as a transformative experience. Here in the Granite State, where some regions will be in the path of totality – or where the moon will completely cover the sun during the April 8 total solar eclipse – science teachers and astronomy professors are primed and ready for their day in the spotlight. 

Students have also been preparing for the unique educational opportunity. At Holderness Central School, some students have been busy participating in a Student Solar Eclipse Ambassador Program where they created videos to share with others highlighting their knowledge on the topic. 
“The Student Solar Eclipse Ambassador Program was designed to organize middle school students who would educate other students and community members to understand the science of a solar eclipse and how to view it safely,” said Emily Kelley, a science teacher at Holderness Central School. According to Kelley, the students were selected based on their interest in science and their desire to create an outreach program for the eclipse. 

At Conant Middle High School, educators have incorporated lessons throughout the year as part of NASA’s Heliophysics Big Year global celebration, which has included instructional lessons about the sun and moon. 

“The solar eclipse provides us with an amazing opportunity to engage our learners with the wonders of our world and make connections across the curriculum,” said Susan Rolke, a science teacher at Conant Middle High School.

Superintendent Brian Connelly of SAU 103 in Hill has been working behind the scenes to help promote the upcoming eclipse. While in Nashville during the 2017 total solar eclipse, Connelly said the experience left a profound and lasting impact on him. 

“As a former Earth Science teacher, I understood the dance between the earth, sun and moon, but when you are immersed in the totality of it all, it is breathtaking and awe inspiring,” he said. “From the moment when the sun disappears, followed by the darkening to ‘night,’ and the birds suddenly fall quiet as the stars emerge, to the brilliant diamond ring shining in the sky just before daylight returns – it is incredible. Experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity can change the way you see yourself in the cosmos. I strongly recommend that you make every effort to make your way north on April 8 to experience this natural phenomenon.”

The New Hampshire Joint Information Center encourages anyone planning to drive north to see the eclipse to arrive early and stay late. Travelers also should expect delays and choose their viewing location ahead of time.

About 64,000 ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses are being delivered to school districts throughout New Hampshire that requested them for their students. Some schools have scheduled an early-release day on April 8, while others have activities planned on their school campuses.  

“A total solar eclipse affords people the rare opportunity to actually see a new moon and welcome a visceral response to the awe of observing one of the majestic wonders of the cycles of our universe,” explained David McDonald, a STEM instructor at Belmont High School. McDonald is also the co-founder of the New Hampshire Solar Eclipse Task Force and an astronomy instructor and astronomy club advisor. 

New Hampshire’s higher education institutions are equally as passionate about the upcoming educational opportunity for students of all ages. During the eclipse, educators at Plymouth State University’s meteorology program, led by Eric Kelsey, Ph.D., as well as students and faculty in the arts and other disciplines, will continue experiments with the NASA-funded Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project, which will include the launching of 60 weather balloons in Pittsburg – one every 30 minutes.

“This once-in-a-lifetime event captures the imagination and passion of young, curious minds and a total eclipse won’t return to the Granite State until 2079,” said Brad Moser, Plymouth State University Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy and Mark T. Sylvestre Planetarium Director. “The eclipse is not only an awe-inspiring celestial event that offers a glimpse into the wonders of our universe, it’s also an atmospheric event, which creates measurable ripples as the shadow of the moon crosses our planet.”
Personal comments from the Student Solar Eclipse Ambassadors at Holderness Central School: 

  • “My interest is space, and I really like learning more about it, as well as sharing my knowledge with others.” – Tyler Shaffer
  • “I enjoy being a part of the Solar Eclipse Ambassador program because of the wonderful opportunity to teach others about this exciting event.” – Aurora Ricker
  • “I like being able to teach people in depth about something they have heard about but don’t really understand.” – Hannah Casey

For more information on solar eclipse planning in New Hampshire, visit Educational resources are available at 2024SolarEclipse.