Staples Mourns Cody Thomas

The Staples High School community reacted with shock and grief to the death of Cody Thomas. The popular English teacher died yesterday in Fairfield. He was 27.

Thomas had a strong connection with students of all abilities. He was also admired by the staff of Inklings, the school newspaper he served as co-adviser.

Cody Thomas

Cody Thomas

Thomas — a graduate of New York University’s Arthur Carter Institute of Journalism — wrote for the Stamford Advocate before becoming a teacher. He was also an editor at a rock journal, and played in local bands.

Social media was filled with praise, from current and former students. A Staples grad wrote:

— Thank you for helping a self-conscious anxiety-ridden nerd come out of his shell.
— Thank you for introducing me to Faulkner and Joyce and DFW, while still assuring me there’s just as much intellectual thought in an episode of Futurama.
— Thank you for calling The Black Keys “angsty white girl music.”
— Thank you for always asking if I was alright junior year, when days could be especially depressive and lonely.
— Thank you for coming to my first show. Middle section. 4th row. Your girlfriend seemed nice.
— Thank you for encouraging and proofreading my writing, even when it wasn’t for your class.
— Thank you for defending my writing, even when it clashed with others.
— Thank you for inspiring more students in your few years at Staples than many teachers would be lucky to recall in decades worth of teaching.
— Thank you for accepting my advice that you are not a “porkpie-hat guy.”
— Thank you for always encouraging me to do better, that, like everyone else, there was potential in me.
— Thank you for inspiring me to pursue writing professionally.
— Thank you for being more than a teacher, but a true friend.
— Thank you for coming to lunch with me that day in November. It meant the world, and it was good to know you still wore the same goddamn tennis shoes.
— Thank you for accepting our birthday card, I’m sorry most of the people who signed were 1) made-up, or 2) C-list celebrities.
— Thank you for that hug the last day of classes senior year. I heard your voice crack and a small sniffle as you said, “Good luck man.” After two years with you, I knew I would never need it.

Mr. Thomas. Cody. I love you. And there’s no way I will ever forget you. Rest in peace, you magnificent, magnificent dork.

10 responses to “Staples Mourns Cody Thomas

  1. Dr. Gerald Kuroghlian

    Well done, Dan! G. Kuroghlian

  2. This is pathetic. Cody Thomas was your co-worker, and a great man, but you couldn’t write more than eight sentences about him stating the bare minimum before you just ripped a kid’s Facebook post. This post is almost worse than if you’d written nothing at all.

    • Sarah Menchaca

      Wow, that seems a little harsh. I think it was a nice tribute.

    • Monika Lazaro

      Halley – I think that Dan provides an invaluable service (gift) to many of us who feel more rooted in Westport thanks to his blog. He reports on all matters related to Westport, the good, the bad, the happy and the sad. The sad, particularly, must be hard to write and surely hard to get perfectly right every time. If you think additional information about Thomas is appropriate at this point, on this specific post, perhaps you could share such information to the ‘comments’, rather than take it out on Dan.

  3. Hi Dan-

    I got a bit taken back when I read Halley Jonas comments. For what it is worth I think your piece about Cody was right on target. What an appropriate tribute to a person who devoted his career to teaching. I may be getting old, but I just don’t get the point of blogging a critique when a young man has gone to meet his maker. There will be plenty of time to eulogize him once the shock wears off. I am coming to work tomorrow with a heavy heart.

    Don Kubie

  4. To Halley Jonas,

    I’m the kid who wrote the above post, and I have no problem with it whatsoever. Anything to spread the message about how incredible Cody Thomas was is fine. In addition, I know how hard it can be for some to write about people close to them, whether it be a co-worker, a friend, a family member. I hope you don’t have any more bad blood against Dan Woog. We all know that’s not the worst part of this situation.

    Thanks for posting by the way, Dan. Beautiful tribute, and I’m honored I could help remember this wonderful wonderful man.

  5. Teaching is a profession unlike all others. Whenever I meet a faculty for the first time, I let them know that I believe teaching to be the noblest of all professions. As teachers, we have access to the minds and hearts of children as their brains form and they develop into adults. We provide them with information, teach them the skills required to solve problems, help them develop a passion for learning, ALL within a safe & nurturing environment.

    Reading the posts on Facebook about how Cody Thomas helped Staples students over the years confirmed my belief that teaching is noble. According to those posts, Mr. Thomas touched the hearts, minds and souls of countless young high school students. According to them, he helped them learn to express themselves in written form and to discover who they are. Over and over again they wrote that he helped change their lives.

    What I want to share with all of these young adults is that NOW is the time to make a resolution to share what they learned from Cody with everyone they meet throughout their lives. They all mention that he always had time to listen to them, to their points of view, and to their personal, private thoughts. Imagine how many people on earth can be touched in a positive way if the hundreds of his former students take time to do for others what Mr. Thomas did for them. That would be the perfect example of “Paying it Forward.” I cannot think of a better tribute to Cody Thomas than sharing the best of him with people in our lives for the rest of our lives.

  6. Mr. Dodig,
    As a parent of Staples’ students, you always impressed me as a thoughtful man and a class act. This posting just raised that opinion many notches.

  7. Beautifully written Mr. Dodig. As a parent of two of his students who loved Mr. Thomas and felt his caring attitude, I struggle with how to support and help them. I will show them your post. I also liked this 06880 post because it was simple and in the student’s voices which was very powerful. He helped my son learn to love writing and English for which he received services. What a gifted and wonderful young man – who will forever be remembered. Thoughts and prayers for the whole Staples family and for his family.

  8. Frances Gregory

    Do not ever doubt the power of a great teacher. Teaching is “one of the most meritorious acts of humankind” because it helps students reach the heights of achievement in all aspects of life. God bless dear Cody. Remember, his spirit lives still!