Crazy Science Teacher Made Most Bizarre Prediction 50 Years Ago — His Students Never Expected It to Come True

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You’ve probably heard the old saying, “promises were made to be broken.” How many of us have pinky swore with a childhood friend that we’ll always be besties no matter what? Only to grow up and grow apart.

Sometimes our promises may be ever sillier. Like the good old “wedding pact.” You know, when two friends promise each other: “If we’re not married in 30 years, we’ll get married”? How many times has that happened? Probably never (but if it has happened, please submit your story to!!

But sometimes, it really is the strangest promises that come true. And for science teacher Patrick Moriarty, when he made this bizarre promise to his class of 1978, he was going to make damn sure it came true.

He Made Them an Offer They Couldn’t Refuse… But May Just Forget

Two of Mr. Moriarty’s students pose with their yearbook from 1982.WHAM via CNN / Video

Nearly 50 years ago, in Upstate New York, Patrick Moriarty was only beginning his teaching career. He was just 22 years old and he was all hands on deck when it came to shaping the leaders of tomorrow. In fact, “looking into the future” was something Mr. Moriarty was pretty good at.

As the story goes, one day the science teacher handed his class a worksheet which outlined the earth’s solar system, demonstrating to his students how all the complicated stars and constellations and planets in the sky are miraculously connected. Of course, his students were fascinated by the wonder of the great unknown. I mean, what kid doesn’t love space — or at least, Star Wars? Then, in the middle of his lesson, Mr. Moriarty had a passing observation…that would shockingly come full circle nearly half a century later — literally.

“I said to the kids, ‘Hey, why don’t you just go ahead and circle that eclipse and we’ll get together,’ and after I did that, I did that for the next 16 years with all of my classes that I taught Earth science to.”
– Patrick Moriarty

One of the worksheets he handed out showed that in April 2024 (almost 50 years into the future), a once-in-a-lifetime scientific event would take place. There would be a solar eclipse passing over their small town. It was right then and there Mr. Moriarty had a passing thought, that turned into a long con plan. He swore that in 50 years, they would all get together again, and watch the spectacular solar eclipse, side by side.

His junior high students were convinced he was joking. They played along letting him know they “couldn’t wait.” Then as it does, time passed. The school year ended. His students grew up. And the world changed drastically, but what was written in the stars never changed.

But Mr. Moriarty was no ordinary teacher. He was a man with a plan, armed with a passion for science and a heart of gold. He distributed worksheets showing the paths of upcoming eclipses, circling the one they’d see in 2024.

man wearing a beanie holding an open yearbookman holding a yearbookWHAM via CNN / Video

Decades later, Mr. Moriarty’s promise seemed like a distant memory, an old story that might never see the light of day again. After all, his former students had scattered far and wide, building careers, families, and lives that were miles away from their junior high classroom. Yet, despite the distance, the spirit of the original promise lingered in the back of Moriarty’s mind.

In the age of social media, he had a new tool to track down his former students. With a single Facebook post, Mr. Moriarty invited his old class to a gathering at his Rochester, New York, home to watch the eclipse. It was a long shot — who would remember a promise made so long ago?

But to his surprise, the notifications began to pour in. Former students from across the country responded with excitement. A simple Facebook event, born from a half-century-old worksheet, had the power to rekindle the sense of wonder that once filled his classroom.

Over 100 Students Showed up to Complete the “Longest Homework Assignment in History”

Vintage black and white photo school yearbook with signaturesBlack and white photos from school yearbookWHAM via CNN / Video

When the big day finally arrived, Mr. Moriarty’s driveway was buzzing with energy. Former students, some now in their 50s and 60s, gathered together to keep the promise alive. They came with their families, their stories, and even their yearbooks, ready to catch up and reminisce about the good old days.

“When teachers go into education, they hope that they can be that kind of teacher that would have an impact on people and make a difference for people. And this event right here just firmed it up for me that I guess I did okay.”
– Patrick Moriarty, The Washington Post

Mr. Moriarty, now in his late 60s, could hardly believe his eyes. Over 100 people showed up, eager to complete what they jokingly called “the longest homework assignment in history.” For some, it was a trip down memory lane, while for others, it was a chance to reconnect with friends they hadn’t seen in decades.

As the sky darkened and the eclipse reached its peak, everyone grew quiet, lost in the moment. Even though clouds obscured the eclipse, it didn’t matter. What mattered was that they were together, keeping the promise alive.

The Real Lesson Could Never Be “Eclipsed”

a group of people sitting and standing outsidePatrick Moriarty (center, blue shirt) and a group of his former students watched the solar eclipse together on Monday in New York.Caitlin Moriarty Hynick

The eclipse itself was incredible, but it was just the backdrop for something far more meaningful. For Mr. Moriarty, the real magic was in the connections made that day — the stories shared, the laughs had, and the memories relived. It was a reminder that a simple promise made in a junior high classroom could bring people together decades later.

The gathering proved that a teacher’s influence can last a lifetime. The bond between Mr. Moriarty and his students was stronger than the sun, moon, and stars combined. It was a celebration of friendship, loyalty, and the enduring impact a teacher can have on the lives of their students.

“The eclipse itself … took a back seat to what this was all about. The eclipse was my catalyst more than anything.” – Patrick Moriarty

As the day came to a close, Mr. Moriarty couldn’t help but feel grateful. Not just for the eclipse, but for the people who made it all worthwhile. It was a lesson that even the biggest promises can be kept if you believe in them enough. This was one promise that could never be eclipsed.

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