Funds from ‘Connolly Tough’ walk Sept. 29 to go to scholarship fund for students

  • Courtesy of Matt Raymond

Monitor staff
Published: 9/10/2018 3:56:21 PM

It’s difficult to walk into Concord High School and not think of Gene Connolly.

The former principal, who died last month of ALS, is present everywhere: his name is emblazoned on signs, on T-shirts worn by students and his story has inspired reflective homework assignments designed by faculty, administrative assistant Lisa Lamb said. Inside the school’s main entrance, Connolly’s words are inscribed on a bench: “Live for the moment, because you don’t know how many tomorrows you have left.”

But Lamb said she and other members of the Concord High community who want to further ensure that Connolly is never forgotten are planning another special tribute this fall.

Concord High School is hosting the third-ever “Connolly Tough” walk on Sept. 29 during homecoming weekend, Lamb said. The first “Connolly Tough” walk was held after Connolly was diagnosed with ALS in 2014, while he was still principal at Concord High. It earned $25,000 toward ALS research.

Proceeds from the second walk, during Connolly’s last year as principal at CHS, went toward his medical bills. The funds from this year’s walk will go to a scholarship in Connolly’s honor to a Concord High student pursuing higher education, Lamb said.

Walkers will meet at 10:30 a.m. in the school parking lot on Warren Street for an 11 a.m. start. “Connolly Tough” T-shirts will be available online through Sept. 19. A limited supply will be sold on the day of the walk, Lamb said.

Lamb said the school had not yet decided what the qualifications would be for earning the scholarship, but that it may go to a student interested in pursuing a career in education.

Lamb said the scholarship is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated so much of his life to being an educator. Connolly was principal of Concord High for 14 years before retiring in 2016. He was an assistant principal and principal at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School in Derry and at Londonderry Middle School before that.

“It makes me wonder, in five years, kids who are earning this scholarship, will they understand what a great man he was and how honored they are to receive it?” Lamb said. “And then I think yes, he was so great that I think his legacy will continue for a long, long time.”

CHS will also be holding a memorial service for Connolly at some point during Homecoming week. Lamb said the high school will share information about the services as soon as it is available.

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