Donation offers students unique option for viewing eclipse

Donation offers students unique option for viewing eclipse
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

HIGHLAND, AR (KAIT) - Like many others in our area, the Highland School District will offer their students the opportunity to watch the total solar eclipse on Monday by either live stream or outside with solar glasses.

But thanks to a donation 27 years ago, some of the high school students have another unique option for viewing the celestial event.

The Highland High School is one of the only in the state with an astronomical observatory.

The telescope was donated by Leonard Holden.

Holden grew up in Hardy before enlisting in the military in the 1950s and going on to study physics in college.

He always loved science since he was a little boy and when he had the telescope in his backyard, several children would come and look at the stars with him.

"So, I thought why not put it where all of them can enjoy it," Holden said.

In 1990, he donated the telescope and helped design the observatory so that more students could hopefully develop a love of astronomy and all sciences.

"It's a hard subject for kids," Holden said. "They ignore it, they try to get around it. And what I wanted to do was to create an interest in science and there's no better way than to be able to look at the stars."

Holden said being able to have a hands-on experience could make a huge difference in a student choosing to study a field of science or not.

"I didn't expect them to become astronomers or anything like that, but some of them might," he said.

Being able to view the eclipse in the observatory is something astronomy teacher Rebekah Asberry said her students have been looking forward to and she has taken advantage of.

"Anything that peaks their interest is super important and I've had a lot of students express interest in it," Asberry said. "So if I can get them excited about it then it could lead to better things in the future."

Asberry hopes an interest in this one event could spark a greater love of science in general.

She also had several lessons plans all week about the eclipse.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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