There are more than 300 staff members around Rockwood School District who were Rockwood students during their K-12 years. "Then and Now" is a series that highlights some of their stories and what has made Rockwood special to them as both students and educators. Layla Torgoley, counselor, Marquette High; and Sean Torgoley, science teacher, Rockwood Summit High Rockwood Schools Attended: Kehrs Mill Elementary
, Crestview Middle
, Marquette Grades Attended in Rockwood:
K-12 (Layla), 4-12 (Sean)
Sean Torgoley always had a shadow with him when he was growing up: his sister, Layla, seven years his junior.
When Sean went to hang out with his friends, Layla was there. When Sean went to work, Layla was there.
"I had to watch her all the time," Sean said. "We formed a pretty good relationship, like an 'I'll let you do this, if you don't tell mom and dad that I did this' sort of thing."
By the time Layla started at Marquette – three years after Sean graduated – she found that he had left a reputation for her to follow: rebellious, but lovably so.
"They'd be like, 'You're Sean's sister. He's so fun!'" Layla said. "He would get into trouble, but everybody still loved him. Sean's more outgoing and I'm more introverted, so everyone would always try to get me out of my box."
After graduating from Rockwood, Layla and Sean have both come back to work in the district. Sean is in his fourth year teaching science at Rockwood Summit, and Layla is in her first year as a counselor at Marquette, their alma mater. Sean, who was a wrestler in high school, is also an assistant wrestling coach for the Mustangs.
Sean had his epiphany about becoming a teacher during gym class at Marquette.
"I always said forever is a very long time. I could never see myself doing anything forever," Sean said. "I had always enjoyed school, so I could see myself being a teacher. I got my first job teaching and it was super hard, long hours, but I honestly could see myself doing that for the rest of my life."
Layla didn't decide on becoming a counselor until late in her undergraduate career. Once she was in graduate school, though, she had a familiar face who was active in helping her seek out professional opportunities: Marquette Assistant Principal Rick Regina, who was her field hockey coach in high school and taught both her and Sean in freshman language arts.
Regina still calls her "Layla," though he's working hard to make "Ms. Torgoley" a habit.
"What I love about the district is how much they do for students," Layla said. "If a student has any situation, they will try to do anything they can for that student to be successful. I refer back to all my experiences with teachers. When teachers made me feel a certain way, I want to do that for kids."
"It's good to be able to give back," Sean added. "We wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for Rockwood."