More than 500 southside students to view the total eclipse

Published on March 20, 2024

Council District 4 Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia  

SAN ANTONIO (March 20, 2024) – Students from several schools in south San Antonio will witness the total solar eclipse at the Frost Plaza in the Rock at La Cantera and participate in learning opportunities provided by several community organizations on April 8. District 4 Councilwoman Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia worked with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Frost Bank, NASA Johnson Space Center’s Office of STEM Engagement, US Space Force, Spurs Sports and Entertainment, and several others to make this event accessible to students from schools who are not on the path of totality. 

“When I first learned about the total solar eclipse, it was evident we had to get as many organizations involved to plan an incredible educational experience for students to understand the significance of this cosmic event and how it relates to space exploration. Because not every school will be able to view the eclipse in San Antonio, we worked together to get students to the Rock, so they don’t miss out on this extremely rare occasion,” commented the District 4 Councilwoman.

“Explaining the eclipse offers an introduction to the ‘symphony of the spheres’ to an eager audience, by setting our place in this celestial masterpiece in context to our student ambassadors. As astronomical exploration, the space economy, and the astronautics industry advance, especially in Texas and near to San Antonio, career opportunities in obvious STEM fields will open in tandem with others such as nutrition (feeding folks in space), space medicine, communication (to spread the word of our achievements), human resources, psychology of space travel, philosophy to help place discoveries in context, and pretty much any field under the Sun.  We hope that our audience will be inspired to help in these cosmic endeavors and further the City’s progression” explained Professor Chris Packham from UTSA.

Students from Compass Rose, Lighthouse Public Schools, Harmony Public Schools, IDEA Ewing Halsell, IDEA Brackenridge, and several elementary schools in Northside Independent School District and Southwest Independent School District will be traveling to northwest San Antonio to view the eclipse. The University of San Antonio’s Department of Physics and Astronomy will help to offer students the opportunity to learn about the importance of this monumental event and the role of astrophysics and cosmology in space exploration. 

In addition to safely viewing the total eclipse, students will take part in a series of 15 activation stations geared to educate elementary school students on a variety of STEM topics. The organizations that will lead the activations stations include Communities in Schools, San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT), NASA Johnson Space Center’s Office of STEM Engagement, the National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRlab), the Alamo Trust, and Youth Code Jam. Students will have the chance to learn about coding, robots, circuits, virtual reality, space exploration and other STEM-related topics. 

Last year, the District 4 Councilwoman worked with UTSA’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Texas Cavaliers to design a coloring book featuring both the annular eclipse, which occurred on October 14, 2023, and the total solar eclipse. Distributing these coloring books during Fiesta 2023 was part of their efforts to drum up excitement for both events. Thanks to the generosity of the Texas Cavaliers and other community partners, this free event will bring students together for an educational adventure that is out of this world.

This hands-on learning experience is made possible with the support of the following organizations: SAMSAT, LCATS, Communities in Schools-San Antonio STEM Department, Texas Cavaliers, The Alamo Trust, US Extremely Large Telescope Program, Tech Bloc, and the Wex Foundation. 

“This is exactly why we sponsor the Frost Plaza – to host events like this for students,” said Frost San Antonio Region President Dan Geddes. “My hope is the students are inspired to pursue STEM careers and become future Frost employees in fields like cybersecurity, data analytics, or coding.

“Beyond that, it’s a great opportunity for us to bring together community partners like UTSA, Texas Cavaliers, NASA, the Alamo Trust, the City of San Antonio, SAMSAT and Communities and Schools. This collaborative spirit truly sets San Antonio apart from other large cities and is a way we can invest in the most precious resource our city has, its children.”