Ray Condon was a dedicated teacher form Labrador City, but this is not what made him turn into a lasting memory from his students’ lives. His honesty, straightforwardness and the fact that opened up his heart in front of his young trainees made Condon leave a lasting impact into this world.
At least one of his students felt inspired enough to start writing literature with the purpose of addressing delicate issues from our modern world. Gay rights and HIV become Joe McGrath’s favourite subjects.
A good teacher is a resource, but an excellent teacher is an inspirational role model
This story begins back in the 1990s. Joe McGrath, a high school student, had only heard about HIV and AIDS from TV, like most of his colleagues. This shouldn’t surprise us, because in those times Internet didn’t exist and the access to information wasn’t so wide as it is today.
Even so, a daring teacher had the courage to talk to his students on sensitive matters. Ray Condon, one of the most inspirational men ever known by McGrath and his colleagues, went straightforward and talked about the fact that he is HIV positive and gay.
At first, the youngsters were very surprised, because they didn’t think that this could happen in small places like Labrador City. After they thought it over, they realized that Condon used his condition to educate, inform and open their minds.
After the teacher’s confession, the community realized that it is OK to be honest and stand up for your rights, no matter if you belong to a minority or the majority. While he was in high school, McGrath wrote a play called Fear of the Young and dedicated it to his teacher. He estimates that approximately 300,000 people have seen the play over the years.
Now, McGrath lives in Navan, Ireland, is happily married and has three sons. Here, the play took on a life of its own and now the author continues to write. Currently, he’s writing poetry and working on a book.
Recently, he became famous for composing another inspirational ”message”. Since Labrador City celebrated the Pride Week 2018, he wrote a poem dedicated to gay people.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca