By Perry Lamkins
Perry is a religion teacher at Cathedral High School and a reporter for Catholic Communications. He offered this reflections after being Conor’s teacher for the past two years.
I met Conor Reynolds in my social justice religion class in the fall of 2008.
Most days he had a smile on his face. Through class discussions I discovered he knew the teachings of the Catholic faith and he carried them in his heart.
I remember last year, my juniors needed a little help focusing on their vocation and what it means to be a student. I gave a pop quiz, and even though many students were disgruntled, Conor simply wrote: “ What I am supposed to do as a student is… come prepared to class everyday; try my hardest in any given subject; have respect for the teacher; and have respect for other students.”
I remember one day last year there were a lot of juniors absent from school. (I think
it was an unofficial get ready for prom day). Many of the juniors weren’t in the building.. However, Conor showed up to class. So, what does a teacher do when 1 out of 25 students show up for class? Pop in a movie. Conor loved movies. It was “Pay It Forward.”
Conor said he had seen it before and we thought it would be a good service project movie to watch. He could identify with the main concept of the movie. Conor was someone who was always willing to lend a helping hand.
Conor signed up this year to take my world religion course.
In his senior service project proposal Conor wrote, “I want to take it serious this year and do a lot to help people in need. I feel that because I have been blessed with everything I have, I should share it with people. Once I am done with the 24 hours of service needed, I will probably continue to do some service just for the rewarding feeling you get after. Overall I think that I will benefit greatly from my service.”
Conor was a kid who just got it: Conor just got the connection between his faith and the people he shared his passion for life with.
When I think of Conor; he was a good student. He was funny and had a good Irish wit about him. There were days when he would try to sneak coffee into my room or plug his cell phone into an outlet just so he could stay connected with the outside world. I guess you can say he felt at home in my classroom. I will miss Conor.
Watch for a story about Conor Reynolds on “Real to Reel” this Saturday, March 20 at 7 p.m. on WWLP-TV22.