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Torello counsels The Academy

Carol Torello, standing at center, enjoys working with her students at The Academy. (CONTRIBUTED)
Carol Torello, standing at center, enjoys working with her students at The Academy. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Carol Torello was compelled to apply at The Academy when she realized its mission, which matches her dream after earning a counseling degree.

Torello wanted “to make a difference in a child’s life one day at a time, because every child deserves a chance at being successful.”

Principal Dr. Treva Stewart’s mission gave Torello “purpose, a time in life to make a huge difference in helping someone reach a goal. Every student crossing that graduation stage will have a post-secondary plan and goals … in any school or program.”

Torello has a two-part position as counselor and special education teacher. Her job in comparison to counselors of James Clemens and Bob Jones high schools is very similar, but Torello’s student population is smaller and classified as ‘at risk.’

In special education, she collaborates with classroom teachers and high school case managers “to assist struggling students and ensure their accommodations, modifications and goals are met,” Torello said.

Torello helps to expose students to occupation opportunities by inviting diverse speakers and arranging field trips for firsthand experiences. The Academy prepares students as “independent and self-sufficient, law-abiding citizens,” Torello said.

Torello remembers her teachers as impartial and fair. “We were all treated equally, regardless of our intelligence, backgrounds, our parents’ (jobs) or our color. They were interested in one thing … our success.”

Dr. Stewart said The Academy’s population of at-risk students “need mentoring, exposure to internships and job-shadowing experiences. We do not want high school graduation to be the end but the beginning for our students to go out into the world.”

To reach those goals, civic groups can provide students with options, like internships, “thus giving tools to (become) positive, motivated, independent and productive citizens.”

Torello earned degrees from Auburn and Alabama A&M universities, University of West Alabama and University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also has worked for Decatur, Madison County and Huntsville districts.

Carol and Hal Torello have been married 35 years. “Like most parents, we enjoy talking about our children,” she said. Allison works for Boeing Company. Caroline is employed by Lockheed Martin in aerospace/missile defense. Michael is a first-year dental student at UAB.

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