It Runs in the Family

Grace Flanagan (12) leads a meeting in ASB, her authoritative voice garnering the attention of her peers. As she speaks, William Shrekengaust (10) brainstorms ways to encourage school spirit among the student body. Meanwhile, on the football field, Andy Livingston (12), a player on the TPHS varsity football team, trains tirelessly to prepare for the upcoming game, fueled by his determination to bring home a victory. All these students have one thing in common: they have all followed in their families’ footsteps by attending TPHS.

Generations of students have walked down the same halls as their parents once did, while also discovering their own paths.

This raises the question: what attracts families to remain at TPHS for generations and how does that impact a legacy student’s high school experiences?

Flanagan is just one example. Growing up hearing stories about TPHS from her alumnus dad ignited a passionate loyalty towards the school from a very young age.

“It’s always been a very familiar school, a place that we visited as kids,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan has listened to the stories of her dad and his friends since she was young and now connects her own high school experiences to theirs, all starting at TPHS.

These experiences, stories and advice of the alumni themselves make the lifeblood of TPHS’s inherited community.

Matt Livingston returned to campus as a biology teacher and athletics coach with fond memories from his experience as a student at TPHS. He holds a great love for the school’s culture and feels that it has greatly contributed to the deep, personal connection he has to teaching at TPHS.

“[TPHS] is like your favorite restaurant,” Matt Livingston said. “It’s a great place to be, and once you start sharing it with other people, like friends and close colleagues, it just builds and becomes more than just a place to work.”

Athletics is just one thing that Matt Livingston has shared with his family, his brothers and three eldest sons all having been student-athletes at TPHS. As the next Livingston in line to graduate, Andy appreciates the motivation and direction his family’s involvement with the school has given him as his time at TPHS nears its close.

“I really like who I’m becoming because of them,” Andy said. “If I didn’t have a little pressure, I would definitely be more confused about what I want to do.”

Shrekengaust, ASB Sophomore Class vice president, cherishes the innate community he has at TPHS, his parents, two uncles and two older siblings all having graduated from TPHS.

“I was hesitant to join ASB and do some sports,” Schrekengaust said. “But it’s definitely been beneficial.”

Growing up in a family of educators and attending TPHS with his father Scott Ashby as his teacher, Jake Ashby returned to teach business at the same place where his interest in the subject first blossomed.

“I saw the impact Torrey had on its student body,” Jake Ashby said. “I had some great teachers here, like Mr. Anthony, who I took a business class with, and that’s really what spurred my decision to study business.”

Jake Ashby partially credits his return to TPHS to his father. Growing up watching the effects of his father’s work on students’ lives, he was inspired to do the same at his alma mater.

“I grew up watching him at football games, then got to play for him when I was in high school,” Ashby said. “The students I went to high school with talked about all the amazing things he did for them.”

According to Ashby, his father’s legacy was one of the deciding factors backing his choice to teach.

Although TPHS has expanded its campus and course catalog substantially since its establishment in 1974, school culture has remained strong, not to mention strikingly constant.

“TP kids try to make a difference for all the right reasons,” Matt Livingston said. “The community still really values everything the school represents.”

Flanagan thinks TP has an “it factor” that draws Falcons back to the nest and inspires the next generations of students. It is to this “it factor” that Matt Livingston attributes his realization of his true passion for teaching.

“Being here at Torrey motivated me to work harder and dream bigger,” Andy said.

Wherever she goes after TPHS, Flanagan agrees that the school culture has had a positive impact on her life.

“Being a part of that driven culture has pushed me to work harder and discover aspects of myself that I didn’t know [were] previously [there],” Flanagan said. “Balancing sports, the arts, education and friends has given me a good base for my future.”

With each and every story shared and friend made, Flanagan, Andy and Shrekengaust all feel the support of generations of Falcons behind them as they look toward a bright future, one that will surely never be without cardinal and gold.

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