Hundreds of IPS students watch partial eclipse at American Legion Mall

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Schools across central Indiana turned the Great American Eclipse into a science lesson.

Hundreds of students and staff from the Center for Inquiry 2 in downtown Indianapolis walked to the American Legion Mall Monday afternoon for a watch party. More than 50 parents also volunteered to help supervise the children, who ranged from kindergarten students to eighth graders.

Kids could be heard cheering and saying "I see it, I see it" as the clouds cleared and they were able to see the partial solar eclipse through their protective glasses.

"It’s so amazing to see the sun and moon come together," said Robert Bankheap, a fourth grade student.

Parents like Kirsten Boyd sat with their own kids and took in the rare sight.

"It gave me goose bumps," Boyd said. "They are so excited. The screaming, the booing when the clouds come in. It's cute, I love it!"

School staff started planning the outing during summer break, according to the principal.

"We had to order the glasses and ensure that they were certified," said Andrea Hunley, the principal at CFI 2. "And then we gave them three tests to make sure they were ready to go today."

Parent volunteers were assigned small groups of students to look after during the watch party.

"I wanted to see it and I wanted to be able to support my kids in this experience," Boyd said. "I've never experienced this before so it’s kind of exciting."

IMPD officers helped out too by directing traffic near the Cultural Trail as the group traveled between the school and the American Legion Mall. Eventually, the cops got in on the fun too by putting on their eclipse glasses and watching along with the kids.

"There is a beautiful power in people being gathered for good and there is nothing like seeing the excitement of children," Hunley said.

After the eclipse, the kids returned to their classrooms to discuss the viewing experience and tie in science elements.

IPS parents had the option of keeping their children at home for the day as an excused absence. Some students also stayed back at CFI 2 and watched the eclipse via live stream.