Spotlight: Mr. Connelly

Dannielle Le ‘23, Staff Writer

Often described as a bubbly and cheerful person, Mr. Connelly, one of the many well known and favored teachers at Brebeuf has influenced countless students through his teaching and wisdom. In an interview with Mr. Connelly to really get to know him, there was a lot to discover. First, we asked him why he wanted to be a teacher and his response was, “ I chose to be a teacher because I recognize the wisdom in people of all ages, and teenagers have a wonderful blend of hope and insight that helps me grow as a person.  The classroom is a means to create a microcosm of life, one in which all possibilities exist.” Next was a question on what his teaching philosophy is, his response was, “The people in my presence are the people in the world to me at that moment; thus, they deserve my complete attention and my best effort.  Also, my role as an educator is to help students realize that they have wisdom, and are called to share it with others.” Being a man who constantly is motivating his students  we asked Mr. Connelly what motivates him, “I am motivated by meaningful, heartfelt and honest conversation.  Being part of a musical group that maximizes its talent and creates a harmonious blend of sound motivates me, as well.  Finally, my family, whom I love dearly, motivates me to be my best self.”

 Having many accomplishment in his life Mr. Connelly says raising his kids to be the young, powerful people they are today is his biggest accomplishment, “ My proudest accomplishment is ongoing…watching the wonderful young adults my wife and I brought into the world over 20 years ago continue to grow, set and realize worthwhile goals, & positively impact the world.  For me, accomplishments must involve others.” This new hybrid schedule has been an adjustment for both students and staff. We asked Mr. Connelly what he thought of this hybrid schedule and what he disliked about it. He says, “One thing I have enjoyed about the necessary hybrid schedule is the opportunity for all students to be at Brebeuf half of the time, rather than everyone having to learn exclusively from home.  It is not an ideal situation, but we’re making the best of tough times. What I have disliked about the hybrid schedule is that, at least with one of my classes, students meet for five consecutive classes at Brebeuf, then are learning from home for nearly two weeks.  That is a frustrating situation for my students, and for me, as well.” 

We had wondered what Mr. Connelly would be doing if he wasn’t a teacher, he says “ If I wasn’t a teacher (and if I didn’t have a family), I would be an announcer for a major league baseball team.  I love the game of baseball – it is timeless, and it is a metaphor for life. Traveling to games would also allow me to see more of our beautiful country.” To know more about Mr. Connelly, beyond being a teacher we asked what he did in his free time, “ My favorite pastime activity is to go to “escape rooms” with my daughter, Julianna, and to try to exit the locked rooms in less than 60 minutes.  Solving clues sharpens the mind, working together builds community, and escaping brings a sense of euphoria & relief.” He mentions that his favorite childhood memory was, “Playing with friends in our neighborhood.  Our house was the unofficial outdoor gathering site for all kinds of games, & rarely did a good weather day go by without us playing an energizing game of football, ‘spud’ or ‘ring-a-levio’.” Finally, we asked what year he would travel back to if he could and he said, “If I could go back in time, I would travel to 1969.  I was already alive at that time, but the 1960s culminated in a frenzied clash of cultures that is still explored a half-century later.  Plus, humans first walked on the moon & the Amazin’ Mets won the World Series!” 

Mr Connelly teaching his religion class
Photo Credit: Dannielle Le