On Monday, Aug. 21, millions of people across the country celebrated the solar eclipse and took advantage of the opportunity to witness either a total or partial eclipse. The young men at Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center (SWOJC) were among the observers.
As the day of the solar eclipse drew near, staff members at SWOJC explored various ways to provide the 60 young men at the facility the chance to experience the once-in-a-lifetime event. As with many men and women in the United States, staff members realized that the shortage of special viewing glasses and other devices could make seeing the eclipse difficult for the group.
“SWOJC staff spent most of the day on Friday the 18th trying to find the special glasses needed to view the event,” said Deputy Superintendent of Operations Kevin Kopp.
As word spread for the need for viewing glasses, Max Clayton generously responded to the facility need and left twenty pairs of special viewers at Frederick Public Schools for the juveniles to use. There were enough pairs to enable everyone to take turns viewing the moon’s journey across the sun.
“Our friends at Frederick Public Schools and Mr. Clayton came through,” said Kopp.
As the young men viewed the sun, informative conversations were had between them and various staff members. Many topics were discussed including the difference between total and partial eclipses as well as why it is important to use special instruments when viewing an eclipse.
“The juveniles and staff at SWOJC would like to thank the Frederick Public School System and Max Clayton for their donation which allowed our juveniles the opportunity to view the solar eclipse. All the juveniles reported they had an overall cool experience,” Kopp stated.
The Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center is a 60 bed medium-secure facility operated by the Office of Juveniles Affairs. The facility has young men ages 13 to 19 who have been adjudicated by the courts as juvenile delinquents or youthful offenders. For more information about SWOJC or how you can become involved, contact Volunteer Services Specialist Maggie Dawson at 580-397-2615.