The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

From ‘yay’ to ‘meh’, eclipse shadows range of reactions at A&M-San Antonio and across Texas

Despite cloudy skies, most spectators still marveled at yesterday afternoon’s total solar eclipse, which darkened parts of Texas, slightly cooled the air and activated outdoor lights designed to illuminate at dusk.

Mesquite reporters fanned out across Bexar County and beyond — from the Southside to Helotes to Hondo to College Station — to interview people who witnessed the historic event.

Noon-12:10 p.m.

Business management major sophomore Michael Mikhail said he hoped the watch party at Texas A&M University-San Antonio brought out feelings and emotions in people attending. Mikhail said he viewed the annular eclipse in October and looked forward to the eclipse on April 8.

“I really love it,” Mikhail said of the party. “There’s people, it’s chill, they were giving out merch earlier.” 

12:20-12:25 p.m.

Kimberly and Michael Rodrigues, residents from a neighborhood off San Pedro Avenue, were mother and son who joined others at Live Oak City Park to view the eclipse. She was disappointed her own neighborhood didn’t have clear skies to witness a pitch-black-like sun, but Rodrigues was happy to go out with her family. 

“Cloud cover was worse over there, ” Rodrigues said, “You don’t get a total solar eclipse every year. I’m excited.”

12:30 p.m.

Kevin Wear, a water resources, science and technology major, sat in the middle of East Lawn at A&M-San Antonio along with many students to watch the eclipse on campus. 

“I’ve had this event marked on my calendar for three years,” Wear said. 

Wear wondered how much of the eclipse spectators would actually witness.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to see much,” Wear said. “I imagine we’ll still be able to feel the darkness.”

12:17 p.m.

Xandria Roman, a surgical technology sophomore at St. Philip’s College, enjoyed a Solar Eclipse Party along with faculty, staff, community members and other students April 8 on the Campus Green at St. Philip’s College.

Even though cloud cover prevented viewers from seeing the total solar eclipse, there were times when the sun appeared for a few seconds. At 12:17 pm the eclipse made a short appearance, causing an uproar throughout the crowd anxiously looking up to catch a glimpse of the sun.

Roman said she felt as if it were a playful tease seeing the eclipse show up and vanish from time to time. 

The event was held on campus grounds conveniently during Roman’s extended lunchtime. 

Marc Aguinaga, surgical technology program director and professor, said he enjoys allowing his students like Roman to be involved on campus.

“Our professor really likes getting us involved in all the events here,” Roman said. “So every event that happens here he will let us get out of class to go.”

While some seem to enjoy the festivities held to enjoy the celestial phenomenon, others stay at home to avoid it.

“They’re scared,” said Roman about whether her family is watching the eclipse. “Yeah, so they are definitely not wanting to experience this. I’m not even telling them I’m doing this until after.”

As the hour progressed, darker clouds began to cover the sun even more which brought in a cool breeze and lower temperatures. When the 1:32 pm mark hit and the skies turned dark, everyone screamed in excitement looking up to see a few seconds of the partial eclipse.

As the eclipse ended and the sun returned to its usual brightness, the playful crowd began to clear and everyone returned to their usual business.

Noon-12:30 p.m.

Kristen Owen, mom of three, brought her children to the Joe Ward Community Center to experience the solar eclipse. Owen has brought them to the community park several times and heard that the center would be hosting a solar eclipse watch party. She loved that not only did the center provide free glasses but “tons of fun activities” as well. 

“It’s great to see a local community center provide free glasses and a safe space for our little ones to watch the eclipse,” Owen said “We are all excited.”

12:45 p.m.

The Bridgewood neighborhood in Northwest San Antonio hosted a gathering to commemorate the occasion.

Janette Murillo, assistant community association manager for the HOA, operated the welcome table, filled with goody bags with surplus Fiesta medals attached.

“I wish it was clear skies,” Murillo said.

Still, she distributed eclipse glasses and goodies throughout the party.

The overcast weather did not dampen the spirits of onlookers as they saw the world dim around them in awe as automatic flood lights switched on, confusing midday for night. 

1:05-1:10 p.m.

Kinesiology and physical education sophomore Jose Rodriguez was a student volunteer handing out glasses at Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s viewing party on the East Lawn.

Rodriguez said this is his second time experiencing a solar eclipse. 

“It’s amazing; it’s a good thing to get the community involved,” Rodriguez said. “I mean it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the eclipse, so for the university to throw this type of event is thrilling.” 

1:15 p.m.
Stone Oak residents Micheal and Sarah Holden watched from a park in Helotes. 

They like to bring their dog Elizabeth to the trails at the park and thought it was the perfect spot. 

Micheal Holden was able to convince his boss to get the day off as he wanted to spend the day with his family. Sarah Holden described herself as a “big space nerd” and was excited when she found out she had the day off from work. 

“Although it’s pretty cloudy outside I think we’ll be able to see it still,” Micheal said. “I mean I got the day off just for this, so I really hope we can see it.”

1:30 p.m. 

Kevin Apodaca, a life skills teacher at Southwest High School, ran a booth with his students at the school’s watch party, which included music, food and other activities.

“Oh, it’s a great experience,” Apodaca said. “We have all these kids out here from the high school. They’re all having a blast. … Everybody’s having a good time watching the eclipse.”

He said they enjoyed watching the skies darken and then return to daylight, despite the cloudy weather.

“The whole thing was exciting. It would have been nice if we could see the (eclipse) without the clouds, but the whole thing was great.”

1:30-2:15 p.m.

Fred Medrano, a supervisor at United Airlines, traveled from Schertz, Texas, with his wife, Edna Medrano, to the Helotes City Park and Playground to watch the eclipse. Medrano and his wife were excited to watch the totality for the very first time together. 

“I remember making a pinhole box as a kid in order to watch the eclipse but today I am excited I get to experience it with my wife and proper eyewear,”  Medrano said. 

There was a 2-degree temperature difference from the time of totality and the times just before and after, said meteorologist Paul Yura from the National Weather Service office in New Braunfels. 

Temperatures recorded at Stinson Municipal Airport on the city’s Southside went from 77 to 75 degrees and rose back up to 77 between 1:30 and 1:40 p.m., just before and after the totality of the solar eclipse. 

Yura said temperatures usually fluctuate during eclipses more than what we saw yesterday, but since it was overcast we didn’t see too much difference in a temperature change. The airport recorded only 0.01 inch of rain yesterday.

1:40 p.m.

Caleb Crusco, an engineering junior at Texas A&M University in College Station, viewed the eclipse outside his campus apartment among groups of Texas A&M students. He was worried about the cloudy weather affecting visibility of the eclipse, but was pleased the clouds passed at the peak of the event. 

“I would have rather traveled to the totality zone, but I had a research meeting,” Crusco said. “I’m glad I still got to witness the event anyway.”

1:40 p.m.

Zach Kitchen, an IT software consultant from Michigan, had never traveled to see an eclipse before. He and his family were underwhelmed, though, since the eclipse was covered by heavy clouds.

“Everything got really dark,” Kitchen said. “It was exciting. But we did not get to see any of the actual eclipse. So it is a little disappointing.”

He drove with his family roughly 22 hours from the upper peninsula of Michigan to see the rare event. His in-laws live on a farm in Hondo, Texas, a small town that was in the path of the total eclipse.

As the small group watched the eclipse, a group of cows ambled nearby, seemingly unaffected by the swift onset of the darkness.

A few years back, Kitchen watched an eclipse while in Kansas City, but he has never traveled for the sake of seeing one.

“Clouds. Lots of clouds,” Kitchen said. “But it was still fun.”

In Helotes, Micheal and Sarah Holden sat in the back of their pickup truck as the sky darkened. 

“This is really exciting,” Sarah said as she turned to her husband. “Oh, it’s really dark. I wasn’t expecting it to get this dark. It’s kinda scary like the end of the world. Spooky.”

“Boo, you can’t see anything; it’s just dark,” Michael said. “Welp, that sucked.” 

“Yeah, it really did,” Sarah said. 

The young couple loaded up their stuff and put their dog in the car and drove away

Contributors to this story were Benji Mendoza, Catherine Richard, Trinity Martinez, Christopher Valdovinos, Aiyanna Gordon, Re’Uana Malone, Dearius Cuellar, Jacob Gonzales, Ramiro Rabago III, Gabriella Harris, Daniel Benavides, Juliette Vasquez, Paola Villar, Kayden Ramirez and Amber Esparza.

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