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Few Things Can Eclipse This Sight 

Shortly before environmentalist Dan Kinzer spoke to the community at a convocation in the Olcott Center on Monday, April 8, he was asked why people should be excited about what would happen in less than an hour — a 93 percent solar eclipse.  

“For me, this is just a reminder of this incredible dance we are in with one another ... with the natural world spanning the entire universe,” Mr. Kinzer said. “It’s easy to forget that. And we spend most of our time not appreciating this really beautiful, complex dance that we are in. Whenever we have a chance to gather and point our gaze in a shared direction, we should take it.” 

The Loomis Chaffee community took it — and ran with it. Following the convocation, everyone, with solar-safe eclipse glasses in hand, headed outside for Shadowfest. There was a bounce house, a bungee-jump trampoline, other games, music, a grilled cheese truck. And that special guest, a disappearing sun. It eventually became a sliver as the air cooled and the light faded. 

A special class schedule enabled the community to get outside because what was happening above was not an everyday educational event. The next total solar eclipse to cross North America is expected on August 23, 2044, but it will touch only three U.S. states.  

“Everything we need to experience in this life, everything we need to flourish ... all of the abundance that we could ever want to be a part of is gifted to us simply by existing as part of this natural world,” Mr. Kinzer said at the convocation. “It's really an incredible gift, and the eclipse is an incredible invitation and reminder of that fact.” 

Solar eclipse 2024: a time to look up to the sky.

After too many wet and dreary days recently, things were looking up on April 8, when the weather could not have been much nicer for viewing the solar eclipse.

Mr. Kinzer’s talk in part challenged everyone, in a world filled with distractions, to “learn to navigate our way back home, back into a deep relationship with the natural world.” 

The eclipse could help do that. While students enjoyed the festivities on campus, 85 students and nine faculty chaperones were in Vermont, parts of which were in the line of totality. They had hoped to get to Burlington, but the traffic was so heavy that the two buses had to stop in Montpelier — within the area of totality — to witness the eclipse. Traffic was slow or stalled much of the day on I-91, doubling the length of time the trip took compared to a typical day.  

The travelers watched the eclipse on an access road to a Vermont state park. 

“Once we saw the total eclipse, there was a lot of awe by students (and faculty),” English teacher Scott Purdy said by email from the bus on the way back to campus. “An amazing sight!” 

Bungee at Shadowfest 2024

The solar eclipse also was a chance for a bit of fun. A bounce house, a bungee-jump trampoline, other games, music, and a grilled cheese truck were all part of "Shadowfest." 


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