When the Great Eclipse of 2017 takes place on August 21, students in six area school systems will be able to remember the historic moment thanks to the donation of special eclipse viewing glasses. 

The Allan Jones Foundation announced that 43,000 special dark glasses were donated by Check Into Cash, Buy Here Pay Here USA and U.S. Money Shops – all businesses founded by Jones.

The school systems included are Bradley County, Cleveland, Dalton, Dayton, Rhea County and Whitfield County. The glasses were made by American Paper Optics, one of the few companies approved by NASA as “safe.” 

The glasses are personalized with the date and a unique message for the school systems so that students would have a special historical keepsake.  

Jones said, “We wanted students to be able to have fun watching the eclipse without risking eye damage and that is why we considered only glasses that were NASA-approved.”

The businessman got the idea to purchase the glasses for this summer’s Aug. 21 eclipse after remembering how a partial eclipse back in the ‘80s went largely uncelebrated by the local schools. 

“My daughter Courtney was in the fourth grade, so I went and got some welding glasses and used a machine to label them ‘Courtney’s welding glasses and I put the date on them,” Jones said. “When the eclipse came, I took her out of class and we went to the front lawn of the school and watched it and then I took her back to class. It was amazing to me that nobody else in the school was interested.”

During the August 21 eclipse, the Moon's shadow will fly across the United States in about 90 minutes. The path of this shadow -  or “The Path of Totality” - is where observers will see the Moon completely cover the Sun for about two and a half minutes. The Path of Totality is a relatively thin ribbon around 70 miles wide that will cross the U.S. from West to East.

Along with Cleveland and Bradley County, four other school systems are also receiving the glasses - Rhea County, Dayton, Dalton, and Whitfield County.