Torrens: The popular kid

December 14, 2009 — by Parul Singh

It was the first day of school at Petaluma High School in 1987 All the students were wearing the stylish outfits they had carefully picked the night before—everyone, that is, except a tall senior boy who was wearing a cow costume.

The oddly dressed senior boy was history teacher Matt Torrens, who wore the cow costume as part of his campaign for senior class president. His farm animal get-up succeeded in attracting attention from the students body since shortly after he was elected to the office.

Torrens loved his time at Petaluma High School in Sonoma County. He was smart, excelled in sports and was involved in clubs and student government. The question was not what he did do, but rather what he didn’t.

Known by teachers as a “good kid,” Torrens received good grades in high school and frequently participated in class, raising his hand and asking questions. With his classmates, Torrens held a variety of different nicknames including “Alfalfa” and “Freckles”.

“They called me ‘Alfalfa’ because I had that stringy hair and freckles which made me look kinda like alfalfa sprouts,” said Torrens.

Torrens believes that many of his history teachers influenced him to be what he is today through the activities they did in class.

“I always loved history; now I do the same things in class as my history teachers did when I was a student,” said Torrens.

Torrens’ teachers made a lot of noise to keep the students interested and they brought veterans in to speak with the students.

Torrens also enjoyed participating in clubs like Interact and German club. In fact, he even became president of the German Club.

In addition to his many activities and commitments, Torrens was the captain of both the football and basketball teams.

He recalls how his team scored touchdowns on three consecutive plays—an almost unheard of feat.

Torrens also said he and his friends used to go to the school’s volleyball games, which had lower attendance rates, to cheer on the players.

As someone who did well in school, Torrens had many career choices. Even so, he was sure early on of what he wanted to do.

“I knew all along that I was going to be a history teacher, all along,” said Torrens.

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