Remembering Cody Thomas

“I became a teacher, at least in part, because I wanted to make an impact on other people. That sounds altruistic, but, if you really think about it, it’s an ego thing. Everyone wants to know they’ve left some kind of legacy, and what better way to leave a legacy than influencing the future leaders of the world.”

Cody Thomas, beloved English teacher, Inklings Advisor and man, wrote this last year in a thank you letter to Bailey Ethier and me (former Inklings Editors-in-Chief).

My response:

What a legacy you have left, Mr. Thomas. If only you could see the flood of Facebook posts applauding your character, teaching and even your humor. And the hundreds of students and people who are running around out there in the world carrying with them a part of your sarcasm, your motivation, your sick writing skills, your tenacity, your hipster vibes, your silliness, your encouragement, your care, your thoughtfulness and YOU inside of them, in everything that they do. Because, Mr. Thomas, you changed the lives of so many people, you shaped so many future leaders of the world. And through that, your legacy will always exist powerfully.

So much of what I would say about Mr. Thomas has already been said on Facebook posts from his students. It would be cool if everyone who knew him and loved him (as in, they are the same thing – everyone who knew him also loved him) could COMMENT on this post with some of their favorite memories, something they would like to say to him, anything so that those who maybe didn’t have access to all of his students’ Facebook posts can be reminded of the legacy and the wonderful memories that he left behind.

Now, instead of more words, here are a few photos/videos with some of my favorite memories of the forever amazing Cody Thomas.

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41 thoughts on “Remembering Cody Thomas

  1. When I did not abide by AP Style comma rules in my article, Cody Thomas commented the link to the Vampire Weekend song “Oxford Comma.” Whenever there was downtime in class, Cody Thomas would be sure to make a game out of throwing crumpled paper into the recycling, getting everyone who wanted to be involved. Whenever I suggested Thai food for dinner, Cody Thomas would always be the only other person in the room to agree with me, even though we were sure to lose the vote. During late hours working on newspaper layout, Cody Thomas was sure to be standing by the white board drawing people in the room with different types of facial hair. Words cannot describe the shock and sadness I feel by the unexpected loss of my extremely young favorite teacher, mentor and friend (I am now consciously leaving out the Oxford Comma). I will always miss this great man, and neither Inklings nor Staples will ever be the same. Thank you for everything, rest easy.

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  2. Zoe love this a lot ❤ My favorite memory with Mr. Thomas has to be how much he inspired me to become a better writer. Every time an issue came out, he would announce to the class a few articles he thought were really spectacular, and in my sophomore and beginning of junior year, my articles were yet to be called out. I was simply determined to show him what I was capable of and I wanted his respect to have my article called out, so I worked super hard on this article about tattoos and he ended up announcing it to the class, and I have never felt more proud to have a teacher who helped me so much to achieve goals. The memories go on, but that's one that stuck out. ❤

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  3. Beautifully said, as always. I still can’t believe Mr. Thomas is gone. I can’t pick a single favorite memory about him, because he made every class and layout an amazing experience. I am still struggling for something profound to say about him and the legacy he has left. It doesn’t seem real that he won’t be in layout tomorrow, sitting at the round table with Ms. Fulco and his Packers water bottle.

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  4. Another memory from me: He used to go to every single one of his students’ games or shows or performances or buy their creations of any kind. Even when he lived a good half hour away in Stamford, he was always there to support his students in anything they were doing.

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  5. I think something that shows Mr. Thomas’s amazing nature happened just last week. I forgot about rough drafts being due that night, so I put together an article in a few hours on Friday night. It was a really really awful draft. Mr. Thomas called me up during the midterm period to work on it with him, never saying it was bad, even though it undisputedly was. He helped me clear up my thinking, gave me great ideas, and then told me to write a few paragraphs and then he would check them over. Never once did he make me doubt myself as a writer. I’m positive that he has done the same for many other students as well. The dedication and care like that that he shows to his students is undoubtedly one of the many reasons he was so many people’s favorite teacher.

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  6. Mr. Thomas had to be one of the most passionate teachers at Staples. Just on Friday during the first class of contemporary he told us how excited he was to teach second semester seniors because we would actually get something out of the class rather than focus on grades (also how excited he was to have an extra free period come internships). He could reach the most checked-out students and always spark up a deep conversation about life that would linger with me for the rest of the day. I’ll miss his simple yet hilarious posts on Schoology, his random drawings of students with facial hair, and most of all having a teacher that truly understood students. Thank you Mr. Thomas for everything, rest easy.

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  7. This is just amazing Zoe ❤ My memory of Mr. Thomas that sticks out the most was at the beginning of this year, I was walking alone through the halls and I saw him duck behind a doorway and jump out in an attempt to scare me. Then as if he hadn't just taken all that effort to play that little prank (and playing off that goofy moment), he immediately started asking me about how I was and how English was going this year. This moment showed a special side of him that I had never expected to see, despite his constant humor in class, and how much he cared about the well-being of others.. Overall, an incredibly special guy. You are very fortunate to have become so close with such a remarkable person.

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  8. Just the other day, Mr. Thomas pulled me aside in class. He had that tone of voice that was seemingly intimidating but you knew he was just going to counter it with sarcasm. He said, “Hey, Julia I just want to let you know how great of a job you’re doing. Not many people see what you do, but I’ve never seen the social media so well done.” He trusted me and Will with the reputation of the publication because he believed that we could do it all on our own. That’s what he did for his students. He pushed us in the right direction and then encouraged us to go out and try things all on our own. The Inklings family won’t be same without Mr. Thomas and his quirky positive energy.

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  9. I have endless memories of Mr. Thomas being the passionate, engaging, witty man that he was. From the moment I met him in Intro to Journalism as he oozed his passion for journalism to his genuine devotion everyday to each and every one of us students, no matter our position or skill set, it was evident that he was someone who cared. One of my favorite memories was when he called Fritz and me over to talk about a particularly racy front page we designed, and I expected we would be yelled at. “NEWS!!!!” he called, staring at the page. I ran over, words flooding out of my mouth in defense of the controversial front page, but Mr.Thomas stopped me and said, “What are you talking about? This is excellent. This is a job well done.” Anyone who knows Mr. Thomas knows the sincerity of his compliments, and to get his approval on something where we stepped out of the box, and more than just a little, meant the world.

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  10. Mr. Thomas was honestly the most amazing human being that I have ever met. Not only was he a young, spunky teacher and journalist who was passionate about what he did, but he was also every one of his student’s best friend. There are so many things I love about him, like our shared appreciation over the morbidness of Edgar Allan Poe, his inspirational comments on my short stories and poems that he read on his own time, and his Mr. Thomas-like laugh whenever I failed ANOTHER copy editing test in journalism (he always was such a stickler on the Oxford commas ☺️). However, my favorite memory with Cody Thomas is probably one of our last interactions. Although I always poked at his love for heavy metal, we shared a very similar music taste, both loving bands like “Neutral Milk Hotel” and the “Pixies.” Just a week ago, he handed me a CD titled “Colette’s mix” with a list of all 16 songs he had thoughtfully chosen for me. He said, “I’ve been saving this for you since freshman year!” Not only is this an amazing memento from my favorite person that I can cherish forever, but it shows how devoted Mr. Thomas was to his students. Every time I wrote a poem, short story or an article, I will always think of Cody Thomas. Thank you, for being such a huge part of my life.

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  11. On Halloween this year, during Irish Lit, we just sat and told ghost stories instead of having real class and I always looked forward to Thursday mornings when as a class we would watch the morning show and laugh at whatever he would have to say about how questionable the content was. He was always so understanding when I wasn’t having a good day and I just wish he didn’t apologize so much to us for the way that he taught since there were no flaws whatsoever. He was so open and accepting of everyone regardless of who they were. He told us all to stay in touch and that we could get coffee with him whenever just to talk and I hope that he knows, wherever he is, that he made an impact on my life and changed the Staples community with his presence.

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  12. I had Mr. Thomas my freshmen year and I looked forward to every class with him. He tried his hardest to always keep us interested and engaged, even if it meant going off on tangents talking about his own personal experiences or asking random questions to us. After my freshmen year I used to wave to him in the hallway or have a brief conversation, but until a few weeks ago on his birthday I had not seen him in months. While my friend and I were waiting in the English department for our teacher to meet with us, Mr. Thomas walked by and my friend, who knows him well from Inklings, and I said hi and wished him a happy birthday. He thanked us and continued on. He was almost out the door, but turned around and looked at me and lit up with excitement and said “Hi Sydney!” He turned to my friend and said, “Sydney was in my very first class I taught on my first day at Staples. It’s crazy to think she’s a junior now!” And then he said his goodbyes and walked out. That was the last time I saw him and I’ll always remember that special moment. Mr. Thomas was a truly special man who without a doubt made an impact on so many students’ lives, including mine. I’ll miss you Mr. Thomas, your memory will live on.

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  13. Everyone remembers Mr. Thomas for his incredible dedication to his students and the friendships that he formed with them. As I read everyone else’s posts, I can’t help but think about some of the smallest things that I would have typically forgotten soon after they occurred. On one late night at layout, when my dinner order did not come through, Mr. Thomas offered me his food without hesitation. I remember on a separate occasion just about a month ago, at layout, he said to me, “Max, I’ve got to hand it to you. You really pay attention to detail.” Perhaps the most crucial and recurring memory that I have of Mr. Thomas, however, is one that really doesn’t involve me at all. Over the past school year, I’ve observed Mr. Thomas form a special relationship with a student who was new to the advanced journalism class. Time after time, they discussed their shared interests, and they built a genuine friendship. It is so rare that a teacher serves as a mentor and friend the way Mr. Thomas did to so many students.

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  14. I always loved talking to Mr. Thomas about music. There were a lot of artists we liked in common, and a lot we disagreed on (anyone who knew his ridiculously esoteric hipster taste in music will know what I mean). But what I loved most about our talks was that even when he was “dissing” music I liked, he always had the best sense of humor about it and was somehow never pretentious or offensive in his disagreements. Like the time he complimented my Arctic Monkeys hat but then followed up by saying, “although now that I think about it, I really don’t actually like the Arctic Monkeys. But it’s still a cool hat.” Or the time he referred to the Black Keys as “angsty white-boy blues.” I’ve been thinking a lot about these chats since his passing, and remembered a time (I believe directly following the Arctic Monkeys incident) when he suggested I start listening to one of his favorite bands, the Neutral Milk Hotel. Months later, I did check them out and loved them, but never got a chance to tell him about it. Realizing that I would never be able to talk to him about that really hit me. Now, whenever I hear an NMH song, I’m not only reminded of Mr. Thomas, but also of how precious the relationships in my life are, and how important it is to keep in touch with the people I know and love and live life with nothing unsaid. I’m posting my favorite NMH song that I never shared with Mr. Thomas here, even though I’m sure he would have rolled his eyes and joked that I picked the most mainstream one, anyway.

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  15. One day during Irish Literature this past semester, he pulled me aside after class and asked if anything was wrong as he thought I was acting differently that day. He had thought I wasn’t participating as much as usual and even though nothing was wrong and I just had a long day, the fact that he noticed and took the time to make sure that his student (of only a couple of months) was okay has stuck with me. He would constantly mention to his students that he was available to talk to anyone if need be and would even write the same thing when responding to student’s journals. Not only will he be missed in Staples, but the teaching community has lost one of their best.

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  16. We had to clean out the Inklings room over the summer (which was already extra work for Mr. Thomas) in late June. After being holed up inside for a few hours a few of the guys on staff went down to the turf field to play spikeball. We all said goodbye and didn’t expect to see one another until august. After playing spikeball with the other guys for about 30 minutes he came down the hill and joined us for about two hours. This wasn’t out of the ordinary Mr. Thomas played basketball with us after layout, was in our paper’s fantasy basketball league and made sure to be an active participant at sporting events. No one expects teachers to do what Mr. Thomas did, but he never failed to put his students first. Rest easy big guy.

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  17. I was in his very first class that he ever taught by himself, it also happened to be the my first ever high school class too. I remember the first thing he said was “So, are you guys scared sh**less.” As much as I dislike swearing and profanity in general, I decided to include this memory because it just shows how bold Mr. Thomas was, he would stretch the lines one what may be considered normal. And he was right, I was scared, it was my first class in high school! Throughout that year, English 1A quickly became my favorite class. He was just such a great teacher, and really understood us as students. I remember one time I was using my phone in class not paying attention, I was really distracted, I forget why but I was. After 10 minutes or so of my using my phone, he calmly said “Ethan, can you please not use your phone.” Prior to this, he said that he understood if we needed to text someone so we could, but he made sure to point out that he expected us to be mature and actually take advantage and learn. He didn’t act out in anger but instead reprimanded me calmly, needless to say, I never did use my phone for more than a minute or so again. Mr. Thomas was a great teacher, constantly making cultural references to apply to the topics he needed to teach. He had a lot of great assignments, and truly cared for each student. His was constantly a positive force in class, and we all looked forward to his classes. I was even going to take a class next year just so I could get him as a teacher. I learned a lot in his class. He shaped an entire generation of students. Even after freshman year, we would talk about sports. I remember when my Seahawks beat his Packers in the playoffs and I couldn’t wait to talk to him about it at school. Last year I emailed him because I had gone through my old papers and wanted to thank him for such a great year. He replied saying that “This kind of stuff means a lot to teachers, and this email meant a lot to me. I encourage you to do this with other teachers, too, whenever you feel compelled. You were a major cog in one of the best classes I ever taught, so I appreciate everything you guys did, too…” More recently I a friend of mine told me he played bass. I was really excited because I too play bass. So I emailed him “Mr. Thomas! You play bass? I too play the bass!” We then had a back forth email chain where we talked about the music we played and of course, football. He truly cared about his students. When I heard he passed I was extremely saddened. I just can’t imagine school without Mr. Thomas saying hi in the hallway. He was a light in the English department, and a changed my perspective on English as a class. From his quote of the day analysis, to his warm greetings in the halls, I am going to miss him dearly.

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  18. To now know that the last time I would ever see him was on Friday breaks my fucking heart. I joined the school paper this year and Cody made that experience everything I could of asked for and more. I always loved to write but I had my doubts about joining inklings. Over the years, my excuses for not joining were jumbled up between not wanting extra work and not having many friends involved with the club. When I finally joined senior year, I couldn’t stop thinking back to my previous years of high school and regretting not joining earlier. Right from the moment the class began, I knew I had a friend in Cody. And as the semester continued, I knew that “friend,” was a pretty great one; a wonderful, skillful man who’s positivity shined as bright as the sun, fluctuating all throughout the classroom among each and every student. And all the extra work I feared, was no longer fearful. Cody helped me appreciate every assignment and task, while confirming my true love and passion for journalism. In all my years at Staples High School I have never had a teacher who cared and been there for their students as much as he did. He was always there to help, and would do everything in his power to make your writing the best it could be. He helped make our paper one of the best in the whole country, not for himself, but for all the kids involved. It’s indescribable to explain what he meant to all of us. As a potential journalism major, I will remember everything he taught me for the rest of my life and carry it with me to be the best writer I can be.

    I don’t know if I have one specific memory that dominates the rest of them. But the thing about Cody Thomas was his ability to help/be there for others. He couldn’t have had a better approach each and every time he helped his students. Once I remember I was writing an article for the girl’s basketball team, and before he could focus on everything wrong with my paper, he dished out the most heart warming complements. “Jack before we get into this, I just want to let you know what a wonderful job you did collecting research for this article. You have a lot of great information.” He was just able to connect with everyone in the best way possible. I will never forget his ability to do that. I saw him connect with students that I didn’t think could connect with anyone outside of themselves. With me, our love for sports brought us together. With some others, it was music. With the rest, it was something else. But everyone who had the chance to get to know Mr. Thomas was blessed. Ironically enough, for all his positivity, to this day I have never heard a negative word said by anyone about him.

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  19. The best part about Mr. Thomas was that I could see the passion in everything he did. Whether he was just teaching us in class or telling us one of his famous stories about his times at Revolver or J-School, he made it interesting and fun. I will never forget his excitement one day in Journalism class sophomore year as he played two of Katy Perry’s songs at the same time to prove his point that the chord intervals were exactly the same. “I told you so!” he said excitedly as several other students and I listened in awe. Just as he went to great lengths to prove Katy Perry’s lack of melodic diversity, he was so passionate about teaching and making us the best writers and people we could possibly be. This was visible in everything he did for us as a teacher, advisor and friend. It is incredible the amazing lessons you instilled in all of your students in such a brief time. I will never forget them or you. Thank you for everything Mr. Thomas.

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  20. To me, Mr. Thomas was one of the best teachers I have ever had because of two simple reasons: he cared about his students and most importantly, he understood us. To get involved in our lives, he wanted to see us in action. Personally, he came to my volleyball and soccer games, just because he cared so much. Even after a loss, a talk with him made me feel better and improved my day. I believe that there’s one story that sums up Mr. Thomas as a person. Last year during Inklings, he caught a second semester senior outside in the courtyard playing a game he hadn’t seen before called spikeball. While most teachers may have aimed to get the student in trouble Mr. Thomas was different. He had us call the student, bring him back up and said, “I need to learn how to play that game, it looks like so much fun.” So we made plans to play spikeball during the final period. While we didn’t get a chance to play, this just shows the kind of person he was. He wanted to engage with his students, he loved his students and his students loved him. He will be missed.
    Rest easy, Mr. Thomas.

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  21. My favorite memory of Mr. Thomas is an odd one, but then again, he was a pretty unconventional guy. One day I walked into Journalism feeling worn out from a seemingly long day, only to be greeted immediately by a wide-eyed, smiling Mr. Thomas. He said hi me and asked how I was, and I replied not too enthusiastically as I made my way to my seat. I then watched as he remained standing directly in front of the door and greeted everyone with a huge smile on his face, and I couldn’t help but smile back. He told me that he was trying out something new – that he wanted to see if he could brighten everyone’s day by a simple, albeit creepy, greeting. I wish I had more stories of Mr. Thomas. In just half a year, he managed to spark my interest in journalism; he was always encouraging and was never without a smile. Reflecting on my time with Mr. Thomas and reading everyone’s posts, I believe that he did everything in the greater interest of his students, and I will never forget him for that.

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  22. When I first heard that Mr. Thomas would be my advisor for Blue Staff I had little to no expectations, I thought I knew what I was doing and wouldn’t need much help from a teacher- just someone to approve everything. Five layouts later (and months away from home and Staples) I can say that I needed that advisor more than I would ever think. It’s not that we needed someone to hold our hand, but he always had our back. I remember my first layout, I printed out a chart of the handout, color coded and all: Ms. Fulco got my OCD tendencies and organization needs, but Mr. Thomas just looked at me, impressed, but also probably utterly confused why I would bother. Little did he know what he was getting into with me. Even in second semester, when I was into college, trying to slum it, Mr. Thomas continued to push me to be a better writer. He knew I could do better even if I didn’t know myself, and when I reached my potential he always let me know: with endless Google doc comments letting me know my work paid off. I know he respected me as a managing editor and a student, it was teamwork: him and the students. I thank him every day for letting me be a leader and only stepping in when need be (@Andrea, our front page story will live forever.) Thank you for the drawings of me with a mustache, introducing us to Rainbow Thai, and for letting me play Taylor Swift during layout even though I know you hated it. For checking over my shoulder and helping make the best paper we could, while making sure I was never too stressed and caught up in my OCD and organization needs.

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  23. I remember being in class one day in the beginning of my first year on Inklings and Mr. Thomas was teaching the class on what a conflict of interest was. He stood up and used me as an example of how I couldn’t write about the Rugby team because I was on it but I could pitch an idea for someone else to write about it. Even though it was such a small thing it showed he listened to us. I had not talked to Mr. Thomas much before that but he always showed interest into what I was doing. I also remember a time when we went on a trip to Orlando for a journalism convention and we got to see him in a different light. We were standing in front of Cinderella’s castle and there’s a picture of all the guys from the trip with Mr. Thomas fooling around in the background. Looking at that picture now, I can’t help but laugh and think about how amazing that trip was. He was one of those special teachers that really showed interest in his students lives. It’s sad to think that I only got to spend a year with such an amazing guy. I was looking forward to the rest of my time being Mr. Thomas student but I will never forget all the things I learned from him. Thank you for everything Mr. Thomas. Rest easy.

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  24. Mr. Thomas was a special teacher and person and he made us feel special as students and as people. The countless memories and stories I have of him just prove how impactful he was on everyone he knew. Even when I didn’t have any real questions, I would conference with him during class just for the sake of hearing his advice. As a testament to both his humor and his encouragement, he wrote on my most recent article “Renee, I’m seriously very disappointed. There are too many small grammar mistakes in this article. You need to fix those ASAP. Also, on a side note, the content of the article is awesome, incredibly well organized, well reported, and one of the better articles I’ve read this year. You don’t really need to make any large changes. I also hope you got the humor in the first three sentences of this comment.” Reading that comment, while scaring me at first, made me want to elicit that same response every time I wrote. As a testament to his personality, Mr. Thomas once told us the name of his favorite band, “The Smashing Pumpkins.” I went home that night after layout and listened to “1979” and other Smashing Pumpkins songs, adding them to my playlist because I wanted to be alternative like Mr. Thomas. Mr. Thomas, you have taught me so much and will be dearly missed by us all. Thank you for everything.

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  25. As I was new to inklings this year, Mr. Thomas was always there to provide advice and support for me as I adjusted to the class/organization. He truly cared for not only myself but also the countless other newcomers to the class, which really reflected his personality as I came to get to know him better. Above all else, he really cared for his students, connecting with us in a way that I hadn’t previously seen from a teacher. From even just my brief time spent with Mr. Thomas, I know that he had a huge positive impact on his students, as he certainly did with me.

    He loved those around him, which in turn made him loved, and he will be deeply missed.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Thomas.

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  26. Dear Mr. Thomas,

    I felt apprehensive toward writing about you yesterday on Facebook, especially among the waves of other posts by other students who clearly shared a deeper relationship with you than I ever did. But today, especially after speaking with my mom, who was also very touched by what you did for me my junior year (when things really weren’t going well), I realized not knowing you as well as some other people doesn’t give me any less of a reason to honor your life and the person you were. I knew enough to see how you always made an effort to relate to students and our lives and not be intimidating at all. If there’s anything I know from my own experiences, ease of communication is imperative to success in the classroom, on both student and teacher ends. I will never be able to convey how much it means to me that you never chastised me when I was going through a rough time, no matter how many times I showed up empty-handed or didn’t even come to your class. It makes me regret not getting to know you better like some other students did. I’m personally not very good at forming relationships with those in authority positions, so I was never the type to reach out much to teachers. Yet, like someone else said, you seemed more than a teacher; you were a genuine friend. And now it’s too late for me. I’ll never have the opportunity to grow closer to you and call you “Cody.” I just realized from others’ posts that you loved Neutral Milk Hotel and snarky humor. I do too, and I wish I’d shared these with you and been a friend. Even the most trivial of our interactions are flooding back into my head — just signing out a camera from you, or exchanging greetings in the hallway. I will not make the same mistake again. I’ll try harder to connect with teachers, just like you did with all your students. I can’t even imagine the gaping hole I’ll feel on Monday when I walk by your office and your seat is empty. Thank you for being my teacher in the good times and the bad.

    Casey

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  27. One time Mr. Thomas, Michael Mathis, and I all traded mixtapes. Another time, we watched this Irish movie with an exploding cow http://youtu.be/k9owvd2dD7U. Where else in school would you ever see this? Cody always did his best to get everyone involved in class, starting the day by having a quick journal entry, usually a philosophical quote that wasn’t actually that philosophical. He led his classes in such a different manner than I have ever experience in a class before. It was a lot more of an open discussion with occasional tangents that lead to great discoveries. He impacted so many people with his kindness, curiosity, intelligence, and straight up sarcasm. Mr. Thomas, you will never be forgotten.

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  28. What made Cody Thomas such an exceptional man were the little things that he did. The things that for him might have seemed like an everyday act or occurrence, but for those that came into contact with him meant so much more. At the beginning of this school year I was working tremendously hard on an article that featured some of Staples’ newest staff members. After going over some edits I noticed that Cody left a comment on my piece that read, “What an awesome article Chase, it has been great to watch you grow as a writer over the last year.” Now for him this may have seemed like a simple compliment, but for me it resonated as much more. Seeing someone applaud me for my hard work was something that made my day. Something that made me feel like my article mattered. For Cody Thomas this was nothing out of the ordinary. He cherished all the work that his students produced and was certainly not shy to let them know that they were doing a great job. A compliment so small can have a greater impact than one can imagine. Thank you Cody for helping me develop a passion for journalism and writing. Rest easy.

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  29. I remember last year, during a late night right before midterms, tensions were running (expectedly high) and some of the editors starting yelling. It was not really a fight, but people were very stressed out about studying and, of course, college. Admist all this Mr. Thomas very quietly said, “hey guys, can I tell you something… you are all wonderful, and I am so glad I am teaching this.”

    When one of my friends found out I was taking a class with him she approached me and told me how much she had loved having him as a teacher, she even asked me if he had said anything funny or inspirational lately. This is a true testament to how memorable and loved he truly was. Not one student had one negative thing to say about him.

    It was not just that he was nice, funny and dedicated to a fault, it was that he always took the time to remind other people how nice and awesome they were. He was one of the best teachers, educators and people. Mr. Thomas, tank you for everything you did for Inklings and every single student who was lucky enough to have you.

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  30. I want to praise all the young writers for their beautiful tributes here to Mr. Thomas. I knew Cody a different way. I met him several years ago after he graduated from NYU. Cody was passionate about music, and was deciding how he could make a difference in the world. I coordinate the English courses at the Stamford campus of University of Connecticut. We talked a lot. He decided to take some classes with us in preparation for teacher certification in high school English. He studied with me and with some of my colleagues. He was a extraordinary student and human being Cody and I kept in touch and would see each other regularly when he would update me about his work. He loved what he did. He loved being a high school English teacher. He loved working with all of you. I am so glad that this rare soul had the opportunity to touch your lives. It makes me so very happy to read the memories you have of him. You have my deepest sympathy as you remember Mr. Thomas. I know he would be very proud of all of you. I encourage you to cherish his memory and to let his work inspire you in all that you do for your own vocation, whatever it might be.

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  31. Cody Thomas one of the most encouraging and influential teachers I have ever had. It doesn’t feel real to think that the last time that I will ever have Mr. Thomas as a teacher was last period on Friday…just this week he sat down with me and talked to me about how important it was to stay confident with my writing and how he knew that being part of Inklings was a good place for me. He’s the one who convinced me to plan on applying for an editing position next year. He always made it so essential to have a relationship with every one of his students, a trait that I know most teachers do not posses. That is something that was not in his job description, but was a part of him as a person. I even told my parents in December that there was a chance I could suddenly become interested in Sports or Gothic Literature, because those were two brand new classes Mr. Thomas was supposed to teach next year, so I wanted to be his student again if I had the chance. Thanks for having such an impact on my life Mr. Thomas, you will be missed more than words can say.

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  32. I personally never had Mr. Thomas, yet I have seen the mark he left on so many of my friends who have either had him as a teacher, or as the Inklings advisor. I’ve heard countless stories about his undying spirit, phenomenal music taste, and most importantly his ability to connect with every student he ever met. One time I was in the Inklings room at 4 pm at layout, even though I have no position on the paper whatsoever; I was simply there to help my friend with photoshop and bask in the amazing atmosphere the Inklings room and students radiated. Mr. Thomas walked in and we made eye contact. The look he gave me was something that I interpreted as “I’m pretty sure you’re not on Inklings, but welcome anyways” he then proceeded to flash me the most genuine smile and proceed across the room. Mr. Thomas was an incredibly special part of the Staples community and has touched the hearts of so many students and faculty. Thanks Mr. Thomas, for leaving me with only amazing memories.

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  33. Mr. Thomas was so much more than a teacher to me. He was a fellow foodie, advisor, mentor, confidante, and friend. Mr. Thomas was not only the person who taught me everything I know about education; he was the definition of what a teacher should be. He believed in me to cover serious education issues and pretty much turned me into an education nerd. Whether Mr. Thomas and I were talking about the crust quality of Colony Grill pizza to SBAC testing, he treated me like an adult and always pushed me to think deeper about my opinions. I wish I could remember every single one of our conversations about education but it’s impossible because of how many times he would give up his lunch or passing time or class time to talk to me about this issue we were both so passionate about.

    When I consider becoming a teacher, I think about Mr. Thomas and am truly inspired by how many lives he touched at Staples. I don’t think he realizes how much I respected him and it pains me to know that he can’t see what an impact he’s had on so many kids. I only hope I can be half the teacher, and person, he was.

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  34. Mr Thomas will always hold a place inside me. Before I had mr Thomas this year in sophomore English, I hated writing. I never had the will to write nor to express my feelings through a paper. I entered special education in 4th grade for my lack of writing skills. Mr Thomas changed this for me. He cared and conferenced with me multiple times per paper so I would fully understand and have confidence in it. He brought out a part of me that I never knew I had. I could now write what exactly was going on in my head. He encouraged me to be a writer that cares about my work, instead of compiling a 3 page paper load of crap. I always looked forward to having another English class in the morning and will miss having long sports talks with him.He brought enthusiasm and fun to a class that I previously didn’t like.

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  35. I never had Mr. Thomas, but I wish I did. All anyone has to say of him is something positive. English is a class you either love or hate, and truthfully, I hate it. I find it to be boring, repetitive, and difficult. Mr. Thomas’s students who felt that way now say that English is one of their favorite classes. I wish I got to experience class with the fun-loving, enthusiastic, dedicated man who everyone is so deeply touched by. Having been depressed myself, I know what it feels like when you want to die, and honestly, it breaks my heart that Mr. Thomas took his own life. No matter how bad things seemed, they always got better, and I wish Mr. Thomas was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. He was loved by every single person who he smiled at, made eye contact with, or spoke to. When I was depressed, I thought no one would miss me if I was gone, yet after seeing the impact Mr. Thomas’s death had on our student body, I realized how different the lives of everyone I had ever spoken to would be. My best friend would no longer see me in Chem class, my brother would no longer have an older sister to look up to, and my parents would have one less child to feed. Being able to realize this now, I know that suicide was not the answer for my problems. Mr. Thomas’s impact on our school is so large, and he will never be forgotten. I wish he knew what he meant to everyone who knew him, and I truly hope that his death will mark a change in our school and its treatment towards mental disorders. People don’t understand why he did this, as he always looked so happy and he was always joking around, but people put up façades to hide how they really feel. Whether he did this or not, Mr. Thomas seems to have been one of the most influential people members of our school community have had the pleasure of meeting. Mr. Thomas, rest in peace, we all love you, whether we knew you or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Mr. Thomas had a bigger impact on me and my life than any other teacher I have ever had. The fact that I won’t see him walking in the halls or standing at the front of class anymore really hits hard. Before I had him, writing was a struggle. It was always something I dreaded and rarely, if ever, enjoyed. I went into the year writing essays with no substance, just filling 3 pages and trying to get a decent grade. He taught me the immense power you held in your hand with a pen, and made writing an enjoyable pastime and release. I will miss the talks we shared about music, what bands we liked and didn’t, and our shared dislike for the new Modest Mouse album. He was truly the most caring and passionate teacher I’ve ever had, and the complex relationship he had with seemingly every student will always amaze me. I think I speak for more than just myself when I say that his impact on the Staples community will never be forgotten. I’ll really miss Mr. Thomas. Getting to know him for even just a short 2 years was an incredible thing. (And I will never stop using the Oxford Comma).

    Here’s one last song.

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  37. Mr. Thomas had a bigger impact on me and my life than any other teacher I have ever had. The fact that I won’t see him walking in the halls or standing at the front of class anymore really hits hard. Before I had him, writing was a struggle. It was always something I dreaded and rarely, if ever, enjoyed. I went into the year writing essays with no substance, just filling 3 pages and trying to get a decent grade. He taught me the immense power you held in your hand with a pen, and made writing an enjoyable pastime and release. I will miss the talks we shared about music, what bands we liked and didn’t, and our shared dislike for the new Modest Mouse album. He was truly the most caring and passionate teacher I’ve ever had, and the complex relationship he had with seemingly every student will always amaze me. I think I speak for more than just myself when I say that his impact on the Staples community will never be forgotten. I’ll really miss Mr. Thomas. Getting to know him for even just a short 2 years was an incredible thing. (And I will never stop using the Oxford Comma).

    Here’s one last song.

    Like

    1. I had Mr. Thomas for my first time this year in Advanced Journalism and he was simply amazing at what he did. He was able to connect to his students in a way I had rarely seen before and that was such a powerful thing to watch. I looked forward to Journalism everyday because of him; his passion for the subject, his liveliness in the classroom, and his influence on every student, it all made it hard not to like him. I remember once I wasn’t having the greatest day so I kept to myself most of class, and as I was leaving the classroom he points at me and shouts “YOU!”… startled as I was I thought “Oh god what’d I do”. But when I turned around he said to me, “You. You have a good day, OK?”. Confused and flustered I asked “Why?” and he replied “Just do it” and gave me a smirk. I will always remember that gesture as one of the most unexpected acts of kindness I have ever received and it makes it even more special that it came from him. No matter how long one knew Cody Thomas, he made an impact on every life he was present in and it’s devastating that he wasn’t able to see the way he changed so many lives. I miss you Mr. Thomas, and I only wish I had more time with you, and more time to learn from you. Rest easy.

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  38. Mr. Thomas may have seemed like the new, young teacher at Staples up against all the veteran teachers, but he was so wise behind his years, experienced in his field, and incredibly intelligent that I never realized that he had only been a teacher for a few years. It fascinated me how he cared so much for his students and was so passionate about journalism and the paper. I’ll always admire the way he taught. He taught like every teacher should. We always discussed important current events and talked about real issues and ethics of journalism. He questioned us, challenged us, and rewarded us. He always pushed us to to think outside the Westport bubble and write about hard hitting news and change the world with our writing. Mr. Thomas made our paper a thousand times better and our writing a thousand times better. I loved the way he pushed me outside of my comfort zone as a writer and editor and complimented me when I did. He knew just when to give you a little push and a shove and when to give you a high five. He had such a wonderful, quirky, sarcastic sense of humor that warmed my heart each day and made long late nights at layout bearable. He understood me on a deeper level than most teachers. He respected my quiet confidence and steady work ethic and made it known that he was always there to help. It was always a huge accomplishment to win approval from Mr. Thomas. And when he acknowledged my stories in front of the class or pulled me aside to compliment me it was always a big deal. Rest easy, Mr. Thomas. I will never forget you.

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  39. Mr. Thomas was truly an incredible teacher, mentor and friend. He was such an amazing person to be around, and his energy and passion for teaching was astounding. Mr. Thomas’s ability to engage with anyone on any given topic was unmatched, regardless of whether it was sports, arts, music or journalism. Yet, it was not simply that he engaged with every student, but he actually cared about what went on in our lives outside of school. Whether it was a recent football game or my stresses as a junior-year student, Mr. Thomas immersed himself in every conversation and always responded with words of encouragement and advice. His bright smile and slightly sarcastic jokes in the hallway made long days so much more survivable. I can honestly say that I would not have developed the interest in journalism that I did without Mr. Thomas’s inspiring stories about J-school and his time as a professional in the field. There are not many other teachers with whom I can say I had such a strong personal relationship with, and for that, I will miss you, Mr. Thomas. Good bye, and may you rest in peace.

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  40. Guys, this is Cody’s cousin speaking. You have no idea how much reading all of your memories with Cody shines during this very dark time for us. I wanted to personally thank all of you for taking the time to write. I wish he could have taught for years and years to come, but it is such a nice thing to read how much he had touched all of your lives while only just starting his career as a teacher.

    If any of you would like to come to Cody’s wake you are welcome to. The wake is at Lacerenza Funeral Home, 8 Schuyler Ave, Stamford, CT. It runs from 2 PM to 8 PM Thursday January 28.

    Thanks again for sharing your memories.

    -Alex

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