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MINNEOLA – Over the summer, 10-year-old Kaden Gray started hearing a lot of noise about Monday’s eclipse.

“I thought to myself, ‘What is a solar eclipse? So I started to do some research. I thought it was pretty cool and now I’m actually very excited to see it happen, ”said Gray, a student at Grassy Lake Elementary School.

Breanna Geisner, 10, called it “a once in a lifetime opportunity”. Jadyn White, 10, said it would be an experience she could one day tell her own children about and Jayden Banjamin, 10, has equated the excitement and anticipation he feels to what he feels before a next field trip.

“I can’t wait,” Benjamin said.

The excitement surrounding Monday’s eclipse stems from the fact that this will be the first time in 99 years that a total solar eclipse has crossed the country from coast to coast.

Gray and Geisner, along with 168 fifth-graders and their teachers will get a glimpse of the eclipse from the schoolyard, courtesy of Shelli Mora, Celina Eck and Allison Duke, the three grade-level science teachers.

The three not only hiked from Lowe’s to Lowe’s in Clermont on Lake Wales in search of enough pairs of glasses certified for safe viewing of the eclipse for every student and teacher, but paid for the glasses out of their own pocket.

The three also have eclipse educational activities scheduled for the day and when the 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. viewing window opens, students will be keeping a written and drawn journal of what they see happening.

“If we can even see anything through these glasses,” said Alaina Ailes, 11.

For those students who have not obtained parental permission to watch the eclipse for safety reasons, a live NASA closed-circuit broadcast will be broadcast.

True, they said their efforts were as much for them as they were for their students.

“Being that we’re science teachers, well that’s our thing,” Eck said with a big smile.

On Monday, the moon will pass between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun totally or partially, making it look like an early evening in the middle of the day. In Florida, the solar eclipse will be about 85% of the total, which means the moon will almost completely cover the sun.

Some scientists have said this will not happen again in Florida until 2045.

For this reason, the Lake County School District has announced that absences or early pick-up of students on Monday will be excused if families wish to watch the eclipse together or have concerns.

Principal Julie Williams said 10 families from Grassy Lake she knows make the trip to South Carolina to experience the total eclipse.

Mora said she even thought about going with her own daughter.

“It’s only a five or six hour drive, but I thought sharing it with all of these students (including his daughter) would be super cool.”

For Howey-in-the-Hills resident Heather Ambrose and her husband Simon, there was no question of going to South Carolina with their sons Tom, a junior at Tavares High School and Dan, a 2017 graduate who will be leaving for Navy training camp. in September.

“We are making this trip for a number of reasons, as it is the first and only time that we will be together to witness such an impressive event, as it will probably be the last time we have done something as a family in a long time. , and because it’s my husband’s birthday the day before, ”Heather said. “I consider it a huge adventure.”

Duke said the only thing that can stop everyone’s enjoyment is bad weather.

Stephen Shively, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa office, said rain was in the forecast.

“There is a 40 to 50 percent chance of afternoon rain showers during the time of the eclipse and we do not expect anything more than usual for this time of year in this time. cloud cover, we’re aiming for 95 degrees and “fairly sunny,” which is between partly or mostly cloudy, ”Shively said.

Shively said viewing conditions in southern Lake County are slightly better than in northern Lake County.

“We’ll just have to wait and see how the weather holds up. We’re keeping our fingers crossed, ”said Duke.

Owens said every school in the district, as well as many public libraries in the county, have some sort of eclipse-inspired activity planned.

Libraries with eclipse parties, glasses and children’s activities included, are Leesburg Public Library, Fruitland Park Library, WT Bland Public Library in Mount Dora, East Lake County Library in Sorrento, and Memorial Library Marion Baysinger in Groveland.

Libraries that only distribute glasses are the Astor Public Library, Cagan Crossings Community Library, Marianne Beck Memorial Library, and Paisley County Library.

Go to mylakelibrary.org for more details.

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