August 21, 2017-Solar Eclipse Event featuring ESOL teacher Maria Royle

Maria Royle and one of her students

On Monday, August 21, 2017 Americans will witness one of the most unique and historical events – a total Solar Eclipse. What makes this Solar Eclipse event SO special and unique?  It will traverse the entire United States for the first time since 1918!  Other similar events have been seen throughout the US, but it has not traversed the country since 1918.   That’s why the NASA Space Grant Program is making such a big fuss over it!

Teams from the NASA Space Grant College and Fellowship program will be in the path of totality, collaborated to coordinate and plan the amazing High Altitude Balloon (HAB) Solar Eclipse Event.  Several states from across the USA (including Puerto Rico) participated in a training to prepare for this event.  Multiple teams gathered and trained, practiced, and learned how to set up high altitude balloons (and launch) along with specialized equipment in order to stream live video for NASA and the entire world.


Of the teams who received this intense training, three teams were from Charleston, SC, and of those, two teams were local public schools from the Charleston, SC area. The schools who participated were R.B. Stall High School and Palmetto Scholars Academy. These were the only two teams who had high school students! What’s more special yet for Charleston SC is that the students from R.B. Stall H.S. were ESOL students including their teacher Ms. Maria Royle, bilingual and an Alumni of the College of Charleston. Ms. Royle was invited to participate in this event by the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium Director Dr. Cass Runyon, also a professor of the College of Charleston.

Under the direction of Dr. Runyon, Team Carolina (name of the three Charleston teams) will prepare to launch HAB’s from different locations throughout the Charleston area and film live for NASA.

Maria Royle and her students

Come see what the whole fuss is about! Check out the links below and come join them! If you wish to provide support/assistance you may contact Dr. Runyon at: You may also contact Ms. Royle at:

Team Carolina could definitely use support in the form of funding for the purchase of helium (for the balloons), and funding for the purchase of additional balloons for practice events.

For more information on our ESOL program:


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