On Monday, August 21, 2017, millions of people across the United States will see and experience nature’s most wondrous spectacle — a total eclipse of the sun. Memphis-based Orion Federal Credit Union announced in July that it will donate 10,000 eclipse viewing glasses to its 13 adopted schools in the greater Memphis area. These glasses, made by American Paper Optics in Bartlett, Tenn., are to be used for safe viewing of the solar eclipse taking place on August 21, 2017. The last solar eclipse of this magnitude to be seen from the United States was in 1991.
“I remember experiencing the last solar eclipse 26 years ago. I kept my viewing glasses for years,” said Jason Lee, CFO, Orion Federal Credit Union. “Orion believes providing these glasses for students will allow them an educational experience of a lifetime.”
The solar partial eclipse is visible in the Mid-South area on August 21, 11:52 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. In the Mid-South, the most exciting two minutes will happen approximately 1:23 p.m., depending on exact location in the Memphis area. In Memphis, the eclipse will be almost in totality. The sun is predicted to be approximately 94 percent covered by the moon.
“We’ve already had tremendous response from the schools that are thrilled to be able to safely incorporate viewing the eclipse into the curriculum,” Daniel Weickenand, CEO, Orion, said.
Orion currently has nine adopted Shelby County schools, each near an Orion branch: Delano Elementary School, Downtown Elementary, Idlewild Elementary, Kate Bond Elementary, American Way Middle, Cordova Middle, Germantown Middle, Havenview Middle, and White Station Middle. It also provides support to Collierville Elementary, Cromwell Elementary, Grizzlies Prep, and Soulsville Charter.
Community-volunteerism is part of the mission and culture at Orion, which provides paid volunteer time to its employees. Orion employees are present all year in these schools supporting teachers, reading to students, serving as test proctors and field trip chaperones, bringing in community partners, and much more. Each school year begins with Orion employees helping move desks and setting up classrooms at each of these schools.
“Orion is an active adopter of Idlewild and supportive of our teachers and students,” Randy Thompson, principal of Idlewild Elementary, said. “These eclipse viewing glasses will expand the science curriculum and offer experiential learning.”