Former Science Teacher Hosts Eclipse Party He Promised to His Students 46 Years Ago

Eclipses can be predicted centuries in advance. That's why many people had been looking forward to the latest total solar eclipse their whole lives. This was the case for Patrick Moriarty, a retired science teacher from upstate New York. In 1978, he told his students to save the April 8, 2024 date, as he would throw a party for when the solar eclipse took place there. Now, 46 years later, the teacher fulfilled his promise, welcoming his students almost half a century later for a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Back in the day, during one of his lessons, Moriarty shared a list of all the total solar eclipses that would take place through 2030, making sure to highlight one in particular. “I said, ‘Hey, why don’t you circle this April 8, 2024 eclipse—and you know what? We’re going to get together on that,’” Moriarty recalled telling his 9th grade class. “And my kids looked at me like I was crazy,” he told NBC News.

Aware of the unique opportunity this event would be, Moriarty continued to tell his students to mark the date on their calendars for the next 16 years, reminding them to not miss on his 2024 watch party. “I thought it would be a nice little core of people who were totally into eclipses, and maybe they’d share the experience with me,” Moriarty told the Democrat & Chronicle. To reassure everyone that he meant it, he posted an online invitation to his former 9th grade students ahead of the eclipse.

Now 68 years old, Moriarty looked forward to the gathering. Much to his delight, about 100 of his students showed up to his driveway in Brighton, New York. While some still resided in the Rochester area in New York, others made the trip from Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia. “How do you guys like this?!” he told his former students. Many showed up with their spouses and children, wearing “Moriarty Eclipse Gathering” shirts. “To see all the different classes join together—this was, to me, a true class reunion,” said Kendra Denson, who was in Moriarty’s class in 1984.

As breathtaking as the eclipse was, the reunion meant something more to the former teacher. “When I had these kids, they were 9th graders and 9th graders wear a teenage mask and they don’t let you know that you’re getting through. Now they’re adults and the mask is off,” he explained. “It’s not about the eclipse. It’s about you guys being here to share this time with my family and me and each other,” said Moriarty. “I wish every educator had this.”

Patrick Moriarty, a science teacher from upstate New York, told his students to meet up for the 2024 eclipse in 1978. Now, 46 years later, he welcomed a hundred of his former pupils to watch it together.

h/t: [Today]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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