The first day of classes is usually an event in and of itself.
However, the first day of classes for the Fall 2017 Semester at JJC was overshadowed: literally.
A total solar eclipse was visible across the entire country on August 21, 2017.
And according to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, this is the closest our area has been to a total eclipse in nearly a century.
An extremely rare event, this eclipse brought many JJC students, faculty and community members outside of the new event center, with live feeds of television coverage available inside the gymnasium.
JJC offered informational flyers and complimentary eclipse viewers to all attendees.
More advanced technology was also available during the viewing period, as various telescopes were used.
JJC biology professor Andy Neill was among the crowd viewing the eclipse.
“This was just a fantastic community event,” said Neill, citing the large number of attendees.
He was concerned that clouds may disrupt the viewing, as the overcast sky seemed likely to block out the eclipse.
“I thought we were going to be left out in the cold, but we got some really good looks,” he added.
The clouds did thin out enough during the peak viewing time, giving everyone the chance to experience the eclipse.
“I think this is just absolutely amazing,” said Amir Khalaf. “There was a lot of uncertainty when the clouds rolled in, but then it pulled through for us.”
“I loved it,” said Shawnda Ngonmedje. “It was my first time ever seeing a solar eclipse, so I’m glad that JJC allowed us to be able to see it. And also they gave us these (viewers) so I wouldn’t go blind.”
The solar eclipse was an exciting event for the JJC community. It is an experience many people will cherish, at least until the next eclipse in 2024.