The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

After 29 years of teaching, Beverly Torok embarks upon a well-deserved retirement

Beverly Torok in action coaching girls volleyball (Photo courtesy of Beverly Torok )

One of WHS’ beloved physical education teachers and the girls varsity volleyball coach, Beverly Torok, has made the decision to retire from teaching at the conclusion of the first semester. Torok will continue to coach volleyball next season despite her departure from teaching.

While it’s a bittersweet goodbye, Torok has left her mark on WHS and is excited to move on to try new things.

Torok arrived at WHS in September of 1993 as a three-fifths teacher (part-time). The same year of her arrival at WHS, she coached freshmen field hockey, varsity girls swimming and JV volleyball.

“Each one of them were so different [to coach] because they were different levels,” said Torok. Coaching varsity swimming was a challenge for her, while JV volleyball was less stressful, but equally as fun.

Torok enjoyed coaching field hockey because she had played in high school. In addition, she felt connected with those freshmen. “It was the first for both of us,” she said. “Their first time at the high school and my first time at the high school.”

Since then, Torok has continued to make her mark coaching. Most students know her as the girls varsity volleyball coach who took last year’s team to the state championship and won.

“That was the first time in school history that we [volleyball] won a state championship. That team was so bonded to each other that they competed every day. No matter what activity they did, they competed hard,” Torok said.

In addition, Torok earned 500 wins in her career this past season, which is a huge accomplishment. “I feel like all those wins are not me. I feel like that is the whole program,” she said.

On top of racking up wins, she, along with Science Teacher and Volleyball Coach Sara Liptack, set up the annual Pink Out event in 2009, where funds are raised and 100 percent of the money is donated to the cause. “It’s just become such a big night for the kids to play in front of the crowd. To be a breast cancer survivor, it’s nice to see and feel the support from so many,” said Torok.

While coaching is a large part of her life at WHS, many have come to know her because she is their P.E. teacher. Even when teaching, Torok has had some moments that have stuck with her throughout the years.

“I remember during Project Adventure we had a student one year that was a freshman lineman. He was a big kid and we talked him into doing the trust fall. I’m not going to tell you that I wasn’t nervous about catching him, but he had other friends in the class that were egging him on. He did it and we caught him and he was so elated when we stood him up that he did laps around the gym. I might have cried; it was so fun,” Torok recalled.

Torok’s presence at WHS for the last 29 years has left an impact and has given her a community she loves. She’s found comfort in the bond between herself and the members of the P.E. department over the years.

Beverly Torok at Pink Out

“We [the P.E. department] try to be a strong group and support each other through things like what we’re teaching, what we’re setting up or if we’re struggling in another area we help each other,” Torok said.

James McKeon, P.E. teacher and boys varsity basketball coach, said that Torok is “the best coach ever at WHS. It’s been a pleasure working with her as a PE teacher, coaching with her in softball and watching her run a tremendously successful program in volleyball.”

“I am very grateful for Ms. Torok both professionally and personally. Not all P.E. programs are run with as much organization, passion for the profession or desire to educate students,” said Physical Education Teacher Ashley Nitto. “She has left her legacy at WHS, and we, as a department, hope to carry it forward.”

Not only has Torok built relationships with colleagues, but she has also connected with her students as well. “Maybe it’s unique to this school how some kids leave off the Mr./Mrs. and they don’t say, ‘Mrs. Torok,’
they say, ‘Hey Torok,’ as a familiarity but I think that it’s a comfort that I’m proud of. That those kids feel comfortable enough to show that,” said Torok.

Senior Karolina Bonn said, “I’m really sad about her retiring because I was supposed to have her as my teacher for the second semester, and she’s just such a fun teacher especially during pickleball and volleyball. It’s sad that she won’t be just hanging around the gym anymore because she’s always so much fun to say hi to and check in with.”

After her retirement, Torok plans to join a pickleball league, spend one day a week horseback riding with friends and elevate her knife handling skills in the kitchen through a cooking class. “I’m gonna miss it. I am. But I think it’s a good time in my life to try new things and still have the connection with coaching. I couldn’t break off completely.”

Ms. Torok to many, Coach Torok to some, but Torok to most, it is safe to say that WHS will miss her endless energy, passion and drive to bring the best out of everyone.

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