WAYNESBORO, GA (WJBF) – Tonya Torek is making a big impact on Burke County. She helps students young and old, in and out of the classroom.

“We have an adult English course that we offer to our community on Wednesdays,” Torek says. “We’ve done that for over 20 years. Every day I start my morning with our international students. Students who speak English as a second language. Just helping them, making sure that they’re prepared, that they have everything they need to do their best.”

It’s easy to come to work everyday when you truly enjoy your job. Mrs. Torek has been reaping the rewards of education for 28 years.

“I love children. I love helping children. I love spending my day with them, especially our children here in Burke County.”

It all comes down to one thing.

“Relationships. We have amazing kids here in Burke County. And if they have support, they can do huge things. I would put our kids up against any kid in the state. And I get to meet those kids on a personal level and have a small part in their future success, and that’s an honor.”

Mrs. Torek gives credit to the families of these children for getting them through some trying times.
“I have been so amazed at our parents and how resilient they have been, as well as our children, during this pandemic. Our parents here in Burke County, we truly are a team. We’re a family. I think I would just have to say thank you.”

But it’s not just Mrs. Torek who keeps these kids on the road to success. Everybody here works hard to help them get the most out of school.

“I don’t think I could teach anywhere else that I’ve ever visited. Burke County truly is a family,” she says. “We are Bear Built. We do things differently here. We have high standards for our kids and we’ll do whatever it takes to help them meet those standards.”