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Teacher's 1978 Eclipse Promise Fulfilled

Back in 1978, Patrick Moriarty, while teaching his Earth Science class at Spry Junior High School in Webster NY, distributed worksheets detailing the trajectories of upcoming eclipses. As he highlighted the one scheduled to pass near their hometown, Moriarty boldly declared to his students: "Hey, circle that one on April 8, 2024. We're going to get together on that one."

Patrick Moriarty's science class in 1978
Credit: NBC News | YouTube

His students chuckled at the thought, finding it challenging to fathom such a distant future event. Nevertheless, Moriarty persisted, reminding all of his classes over the next 16 years to mark their calendars for the anticipated gathering.

Fast forward to two years ago, Moriarty, now retired but still driven on by his oft repeated promise, created a Facebook event and reached out to his former students. To his surprise, hundreds responded with enthusiasm, expressing interest in joining the reunion.

And, when April 8, 2024 finally arrived, roughly 100 of Moriarty's former students gathered at his home in suburban Rochester, New York. Emotions ran high as familiar faces from their junior high days reconnected, with Moriarty reminiscing, "When they were walking up, I could see their little ninth grade faces still."

As the eclipse spectacle unfolded, surrounded by the warmth of shared memories, laughter, and camaraderie, Moriarty proposed another reunion in two decades for the next total solar eclipse. The suggestion once again elicited chuckles, reminiscent of the jovial spirits from 1978.


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