WFIE-TV 14 News donates solar glasses to diocesan schools

Jeff Lyons of WFIE-TV Channel 14 hands solar eclipse glasses to Westside Catholic School St. Boniface Campus Principal Jessica Zavala. The Message photo by John Rohlf

By John Rohlf, The Message assistant editor 

Students at the Westside Catholic School St. Boniface campus were the first students in the Diocese of Evansville to get a glimpse of solar eclipse glasses that a local television station is donating to all schools in the diocese. 

WFIE-TV Channel 14 News, a local television station in Evansville, visited Westside Catholic School March 11 to donate solar eclipse glasses to the students at the school. The donation kicked off WFIE’s initiative to get solar eclipse glasses to all schools in the diocese.

Jeff Lyons of WFIE-TV Channel 14 News speaks to students at Westside Catholic School March 11. WFIE is donating solar eclipse glasses to students at schools throughout the Diocese of Evansville. The Message photo by John Rohlf

“We kind of did the same thing in 2017,” WFIE Chief Meteorologist Jeff Lyons said. “It was a little different then because the eclipse the totality was a little farther away. But it was the same principle. And they were hot commodities. So we wanted to get them out soon. Not too soon. You hand them out in January, they get lost. So this is our blitz month leading up to the eclipse.”

Diocese of Evansville Associate Superintendent Kari Ford said the diocese is thrilled that WFIE collaborated with the diocese to provide the students with the glasses. 

Our teachers are working hard to prepare engaging lessons for their students to learn about the upcoming solar eclipse,” Ford said. “We look forward to this experience on April 8 and are thankful for this wonderful opportunity for our students to safely view the eclipse.”

Lyons said from about 2:03 p.m. to 2:07 p.m. CDT April 8, there will be a total solar eclipse in the Evansville area. The next total solar eclipse is not expected to be in the Evansville area for 129 years, Lyons said. 

Lyons stressed individuals cannot look at the eclipse with sunglasses or with the naked eye. For the period of time when the shadow of the moon will blot out the sun, an individual can look at the eclipse without the specialized glasses. 

“Otherwise, if you want to watch the progression of the shadow across the moon, you need to put these on,” Lyons said. “And the longest you can look at the sun with these on is only a couple, three minutes. Your eyes will get tired.” 

Jeff Lyons of WFIE-TV Channel 14 hands solar eclipse glasses to Westside Catholic School St. Boniface Campus Principal Jessica Zavala. The Message photo by John Rohlf

The plan at Westside Catholic was for the administration to keep the glasses in a safe place. The glasses will be passed out to students closer to the April 8 date of the total solar eclipse.

All Diocese of Evansville schools will be closed April 8 for the total solar eclipse. Some diocesan schools will conduct a virtual learning day, while others have built it in as a no-school day.

You’re going to take that day off. So your teachers will make sure you have the glasses before you go home,” Lyons said. “You can share them around. Right now, it’s just one per student. You can take them off and give them to your little brother and sister, your best friend, your parents, whomever and you can go back and forth. And we’re going to pray for clear weather.”