It is no surprise that the day would come when Dave Torbett would achieve something so phenomenal that it would change any reserved opinion a person might have of this extraordinary person. That day came late last week when Dave Torbett was inducted into the Kansas Teachers' Hall of Fame. 

The Kansas Teachers' Hall of Fame is the first of its kind in the United States. It is dedicated to the early and present day teachers who have devoted their lives to the profession of teaching. Torbett's photo will be displayed among 390 other teachers currently named in the famed hall. The Kansas Teachers' Hall of Fame is located in Dodge City and has been established at that location since 1997.

Torbett is currently the only Independence USD 446 teacher to be inducted into the Kansas Teachers' Hall of Fame.

"The way I found out about my nomination was when Tim Knoles, who nominated me, was parked outside of my house. I walked out to see what he wanted and Tim said, 'I have good news and bad news for you.'"

At that point Torbett asked Tim, "what's the good news?" Tim replied, "You received the second highest number of votes into the Kansas Hall of Fame... The bad news is that you came in second to a deceased man."

"And there, my friend, is the story of my life," said Torbett in his jovial way, before adding, "It is difficult to have this honor given to me when there have been others that deserve it more than me. I think of my friend Bev Willis, Freddie Jayne and Jodie Russell. Each of these have been an inspiration to me and many others."

When asked what this honor means to him. Torbett replied, "It is a tremendously humbling honor. I feel that I am only a minor representative of the thousands of Kansas teachers who really care about the kids, the education process and really want to improve education in the state." 

He added that he is happy for family that they can be there to share it with him. "I only wish that my parents could have been here to see this, I, somehow, feel that they are," added Torbett. "I remember telling my brother that I had received this honor and his reply was 'Holy ****! You have got to be kidding me!' That's sums it up," said Torbett.

"I don't feel that I am any more special, any different or any better than any other teacher that has dedicate their lives to helping kids. I have so many wonderful memories of students and fellow faculty members of the Independence High School and school district... and a few rotten memories too," said Torbett with his usual lighthearted way.

Tim Knoles, executive director of Walnut Valley UniServ District, said this of Dave Torbett, "David was a true advocate for both teacher and students. More times than not, he was the first person fellow teachers would confide in if they had problems with a student, parent or administrator. Students would also confide in David about their problems at school and at home. He always seemed able to offer a consoling word or to try in some small way to help. If he couldn't help directly, he would find one who could."

In conclusion, Dave Torbett's philosophies about teaching are simple yet represent the most underlying meaning of what it means to be a teacher.

"I believe one word shaped my life's work: caring. From the first day I entered my classroom, my students knew I cared about their learning, about their intellectual growth. And I cared about them, individually. If teachers do not obviously care, neither student nor teacher are likely to reach their potential."