Eclipse Fulfills Lifelong Pledge

For some St. Mark’s graduates, Monday's total solar eclipse fulfilled a lifelong pledge to a beloved teacher. Stephen M. Seay ’68 inspired a generation of Marksmen in the science classroom from the 1970s through the early 2000s. 

A lifelong lover of astronomy, one of Seay’s signature lectures focused on the predictability of eclipses. Noting that Dallas was due for a total solar eclipse in the next century, Seay urged all students to return to St. Mark’s in 2024 for this rare experience. Though Seay passed away in 2012, more than 200 alumni followed his advice and witnessed the April 8 total solar eclipse at 10600 Preston Road. 
“Steve Seay was a ‘once in a generation’ teacher who inspired his students to such an extent that they are returning to St. Mark’s after decades to witness the total solar eclipse that they first learned about in his Earth science class,” said Dan Northcut ’81, director of Environmental Studies and former student and colleague of Seay. 
The School hosted several events on campus for alumni of all ages to gather and view the eclipse. In a special presentation, Sammy Papert ’73 gifted the School with Heavenly Reflections, a painting by NASA astronaut Alan Bean depicting himself and Pete Conrad walking on the moon during the Apollo XII mission. Papert pointed out some of the unique details of the piece. 
“That’s his spacesuit’s boot print and you can see little holes that were tools he had on the moon, and he also shaved off little pieces of the American flag in the acrylic so there is in all likelihood pieces of the moon in this painting,” Papert said. 
Heavenly Reflections will hang in the Winn Science Center to inspire future generations of Marksmen. 
In preparation for the big moment, Northcut gave alumni a quick refresher on the science and history of eclipses. Dr. Michael Lane, Planetarium director and Leonard "Doc" Nelson Master Teaching Chair in Science, followed with a planetarium presentation showcasing the wonderment of the event. 

Shortly after lunch, alumni moved outside the Winn Science Center to witness the eclipse.
On the other side of campus, students and teachers gathered in Hunt Family Stadium. Wearing protective solar glasses or looking through filtered telescopes and handmade viewing devices, the 12 grades watched the marvel unfold. Cheers rose up when the partly cloudy skies briefly parted, revealing the unobstructed totality. 
“I see it!” exclaimed a middle scholer. “It looks like a bite taken out of cheese!” 
Despite the passage of time and their busy lives, the call to reconvene at 10600 Preston Road proved irresistible to many Marksmen. As the eclipse cast its shadow over campus, alums reflected on the memories and influence Mr. Seay had on their lives. 
“Every year during his eclipse lessons, Steve made sure his students knew that we were all invited to meet back up at school for the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse,” Northcut said. “The date seemed like a science fiction future date to us at the time. So after all these years, decades for many of us, alumni of all different ages returned to St. Mark's to observe the totality and honor one of the best teachers the School has ever had.” 

See more photos from the alumni eclipse event below and click here to see photos from the students' perspective. 


    • Alumni and guests witness the eclipse.

    • Sammy Papert ’73 points to subtle details in “Heavenly Reflections.”

    • Students witness the eclipse in Hunt Stadium.

    • Steve Seay ’68 and students prepare to view the 1991 total solar eclipse in Cabo San Lucas.

St. Mark’s School of Texas

10600 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75230

About Us

St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.

St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.