Caleb Torres: Lakeside’s ‘Student Administrator’

Known to some as a “student administrator” or “kid principal,” Caleb Torres walks through the main office to the conference room, greeting the front office staff and Ms. Humphrey, and poking his head into Dr. Granger’s office to joke with her. Torres serves as Lakeside’s student liaison, an undefined and unofficial role with responsibilities above a student aide, but below a school employee. “His maturity level and his ability to have conversations with diverse groups of people, his initiative … really helps him to be that student leader,” said principal Damian Bounds.

Torres began reading the morning announcements last year and he began a student internship in this year, leading him to the student liaison position in mid-fall. “I guess they realized that I was good at what I did because I started answering the phones and doing menial tasks and it went from there,” said Torres. “... it was just gradual.”

An average day doesn’t really exist for Torres, whose work consists of miscellaneous tasks around the school. He reads the morning announcements, uses mornings, study hall, and sixth period internship to tend to responsibilities like making copies, giving tours of the school, or processing paperwork out of his desk in the discipline office (you may have noticed his name on your prom guest application). Torres doesn't hold authority to handle information protected by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, like students’ academic records.

Torres’ responsibilities don’t end with administrative assistance. “People come to me all the time to have me manage different tasks,” said Torres. He ran sound and lights for Miss Lakeside and TEDx Youth at Lakeside, and is willing to take up what he calls “extra-curricular” responsibilities like helping to manage the school’s walkout. In fact, he spent most of our first sit down interview ordering hundreds of pizzas for a school event. “Maybe I shouldn’t say he’s necessarily happy to do anything someone asks, but he’s willing to do it,” said administrator

Shane Tolle, who works with Torres in the discipline office.

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(Almost) Just Another Administrator: registrar assistant Ilah Winfrey-Miller stops in the discipline office and chats with Torres.

Photo by: Hope Davis

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Around Lakeside, you may hear jokes about Torres “running the school,” or “being the real principal.” While it took time to adjust to being a sort of public figure in the school, or being jokingly referred to as “Mr. Torres,” he no longer cares, mainly because he’s about to graduate. When I asked how he feels about what people say about him, he pointed to a countdown to graduation hanging next to his desk.“I play into people’s jokes because I think it’s amusing,” said Torres. He posed for pictures of him in an “administration” jacket or snaps of him sitting at Principal Damian Bounds’ desk. Torres and Bounds made fun of his status by writing roasts to each other in the Legend’s April Fools video, “Teacher Tweets,” joking that Torres has manipulated the school as a “pseudo-staff member.”

After graduation, Torres plans to attend the Coast Guard Academy. There he will earn both a bachelor’s degree and a position in the Coast Guard. “I’ll be an officer in the military so I’ll actually get paid to run things,” he said.

Torres doesn't know if anyone will assume the student liaison role after he graduates, but when asked what advice he would give a successor Torres said, “keep an open mind because you’ll end up doing a lot of different things that you don’t want to do or you don’t know how to do.” Even Principal Bounds can’t say whether another student will take up Torres’ job next year. “We’re going to be so sad when he leaves,” said Bounds, “We’re going to have to find a new pseudo-principal.”

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Kid Principal: As a joke, Torres asked Mr. Bounds to pose for a photo of him giving the principal orders. He posted it to Instagram with the caption, “In the words of our principal…”

Photo courtesy of: Caleb Torres

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