Former science teacher reunites with students for solar eclipse after 46 years

Former science teacher reunites with students for solar eclipse after 46 years

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHAM) – A former science teacher played host to more than 100 people during Monday’s solar eclipse 46 years after he promised his students they would reunite for the event.

Patrick Moriarty was a 22-year-old teacher in 1978 when he first promised his students they would reunite for the 2024 total solar eclipse. For the next 16 years, he invited every earth science class he taught in New York’s Webster Central School District.

“I said to the kids, ‘Hey, why don’t you just go ahead and circle that eclipse? And we’ll get together,’” Moriarty said.

More than 100 people showed up to Moriarty’s eclipse gathering Monday. The former teacher, now 68, says he created a Facebook page to spread the word, but a lot of students remembered his promise from class.

“It’s not about the eclipse. It’s about you guys being here to share this time with my family, me and each other,” Moriarty said.

Kevin Thompson and Chuck O’Brien were in Moriarty’s class together back in 1982. They say they are grateful their former teacher kept his promise to reunite.

“Definitely the longest homework assignment in the history of any teacher,” Thompson said.

“He wasn’t just a great teacher. He was an inspirational teacher,” O’Brien said.

Another 1982 student, Nick Stathis, drove five hours to attend the gathering. He says Moriarty inspired him to become an earth science teacher.

“It’s a tribute to both the eclipse but also the power of teaching. Both Mr. and Mrs. Moriarty affected a lot of people,” Stathis said.

While clouds covered the view of the eclipse in Rochester, the group took joy in being together again for the once-in-a-lifetime event.

“Everybody got so quiet and just let the environment around them take over, and it just seemed very magical,” Moriarty said. “It’s not about the eclipse anymore to me. It’s all about the reunions.”

Now, Moriarty is joking that maybe he’ll plan another reunion for the 2044 eclipse in Wisconsin. He will be 88 years old by the time it rolls around.

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