‘It’s a phenomenon’: Retired teacher reunites with students, 50 years later for solar eclipse event

Retired teacher reunites with students, 50 years later for solar eclipse event

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BRIGHTON, N.Y. – It’s been decades in the making for a retired Webster teacher and his former students.

“I told the kids look in the newspapers. I will be putting out ads in the newspapers,” said Patrick Moriarty, retired teacher.

You see, he taught them a science lesson when they were kids in his classroom in 1978 about the solar eclipse and asked them to reunite for the 2024 eclipse.

Fast-forward to today, he and two of those students spoke with News10NBC about the excitement to see this classroom lesson come to life.

Moriarty kept his word. He promised students they would reunite for the big solar eclipse event in 2024. Not only will those two students be there to witness the total solar eclipse, but about 100 of their former classmates will also be reuniting at Moriarty’s home for a total solar eclipse watch party.

He was just 22-years-old and an earth science teacher. His students were about 14.

“We were talking eclipses, and I gave them the sheet about 50 eclipses and I said take a circle that one right there. April 8th, 2024, and they all did. I said we are going to meet on that day, Moriarty said.

Almost 50 years later, in just two weeks, Moriarty and his students who are now almost 60 years old will reunite to witness the sun be in the shadow of the moon for three and a half minutes. They are coming from all over the U.S. and other countries. He created a Facebook page and group. The responses got bigger and bigger.

“All the students in the past, teachers in the past, people in my life now, people from my life in the past, all the people coming out of the woodwork to talk about the eclipse to get so excited about it with me,” Moriarty said.

He can’t wait and is prepared. He has solar eclipse glasses for everyone, and he also explains he has a kitchen colander to see exactly what the sun is doing.

You can point the colander towards the sun, let the sun shine through the holes of the colander and then put it on a plain white piece of paper. All the holes will show you little eclipses.

A former student of Moriarty’s back in the early 80’s believes it’s going to be an amazing experience.

“Absolutely, there’s nowhere I rather be than Mr. Moriarity’s house where he can bring it totally alive and watch the eclipse. What an amazing experience,” Andrea Roc said.

Another former student just can’t believe the moment is approaching so quickly. He remembers being a kid in Moriarty’s class and is looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime event.

“Back then they’d ask you where you see yourself in five years maybe 10 years. Fifty years did not seem possible at that time of life but yes, we are here and blessed to be here with Mr. Moriarty, classmates,” Kevin Thompson said.

Moriarty’s 6-year-old granddaughter Carlie demonstrates the solar eclipse school project she created below:

Carlie Demonstrates Solar Eclipse Project