NASA Grants PSJA Educators Total Solar Eclipse Experience in
SAN JUAN – Some Rio Grande Valley teachers were chosen to watch the total solar eclipse in person. They’re now teaching what they learned to their students.
NASA chose ten science teachers from Texas to view the eclipse in Kentucky.
Three educators from the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District were among the group chosen to go on an all-expenses paid trip to see the Aug. 21 event.
PSJA ISD elementary science coordinator Susana Ramirez said she was excited to know who else was chosen for the grant.
“Who are the other nine? Who’s going to go with me? We did encourage so many people from the Valley to apply,” she said.
Janie Leal, a 6th and 7th grade science teacher at Austin Middle School, said they’ve worked with NASA to “educate teachers to put on science camps for students.”
“So when I got this opportunity, I was through the roof. I said, ‘Oh, I cannot believe this. We get to go. All expenses paid,’” said Leal.
Celena Miller, the science lab teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary, said she was taken aback when she was picked for the trip.
“You always hope. I think we were all hoping, but to think that you can be picked. Wow,” said Miller.
All three said it was an experience they will never forget.
“We were at a location where there were 1,500 people there. And we were all united,” said Ramirez.
Leal recalled the moments leading up to the phenomenon.
“As we were there, you could hear the cicadas chirping. But as it got closer to totality, they started even louder and louder. But as soon as the totality occurred they stopped,” said Leal. “It’s like you cannot believe that it’s actually happening. That how can these things align so well that you see this?”
Miller said they agreed it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“You see the corona around the sun. I think we all said it was almost like a spiritual experience,” she said.
The teachers said part of their agreement with NASA is to share their experience with fellow educators.
“And we are brainstorming. Ok, what are we going to do for 2024? So, we already have plans,” said Ramirez.