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Valley News Dispatch

Highlands employee Eddie Teorsky brings a smile to those who meet him

| Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, 12:54 a.m.

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series that features Alle-Kiski Valley people and the notable things that they do.

Everyone notices when Eddie Teorsky roams the halls at Highlands High School.

Often seen pushing a large trash can on wheels and bringing a smile at the ready, Teorsky, 51, has Down syndrome, but that hasn’t hindered him from living a busy and highly functioning life said Highlands Athletic Director Chuck Debor.

“He isn’t special needs, he is just a special person,” Debor said.

Teorsky began working for the district back in 1994, first as a special events helper and later as custodian.

“This school makes me happy,” Teorsky said. “It’s like family.”

Teorsky works part time, working four hours daily during the school week. He works in the high school office during the summer.

His main duties include cleaning, shredding documents, sweeping and serving as the athletic equipment manager.

Teorsky volunteers at district Gold Card functions and the annual district Thanksgiving dinner.

The Highlands prom is a big deal for Teorsky.

He attends annually and said he dances “a little.”

“The kids love Eddie,” said Highlands secretary Patty Sirota. “He’s helpful, he’s funny and makes us laugh.”

Although his knee gives him a bit of trouble nowadays, he works diligently and purposefully, often stopping to socialize with students or faculty members.

Eddie’s parents, Robert and Dorothy Teorsky of Harrison, are deceased, and Debor noted the entire Highlands district community has embraced him.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child,” Debor said. “It does take a village, and everyone pitches in to help Eddie.”

Teorsky lives alone in a small apartment in Harrison and takes pride in his independence.

“I have a man cave and I keep it neat, alright — you better believe it,” Teorsky said.

A Harrison native, Teorsky said he “knows everybody” and praised his co-worker, Debor.

“He’s cool,” Teorsky said.

Various people take turns volunteering, providing Teorsky with rides to and from work since he doesn’t drive.

A 1986 graduate of the Sunrise School in Monroeville, Teorsky’s hobbies include attending Pitt football games (he’s a season ticket holder) and attending Highlands district sports.

“Eddie’s an institution here,” Highlands principal Charlie Mort said. “You don’t think of Highlands High School without thinking of Eddie.”

“You better believe it,” said Teorsky, using his signature catchphrase.

Dabor serves partly as mentor and big brother to Eddie, and the two have a noticeably close relationship.

“We are both going to retire at the same time, because I told Eddie he has to keep working until I retire,” Debor said.

Teorsky didn’t hesitate: “You better believe it.”

Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.

Highlands High School longtime employee Eddie Teorsky, 51, visits with school secretary Patty Sirota in the school office on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Highlands High School longtime employee Eddie Teorsky, 51, visits with school secretary Patty Sirota in the school office on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.
Highlands High School custodian Eddie Teorsky works on shredding papers, one of his daily school responsibilities, in an office on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Highlands High School custodian Eddie Teorsky works on shredding papers, one of his daily school responsibilities, in an office on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.
Highlands High School custodian Eddie Teorsky sweeps up after lunch with his personal broom in the cafeteria on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Highlands High School custodian Eddie Teorsky sweeps up after lunch with his personal broom in the cafeteria on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.
Highlands High School custodian and equipment manager Eddie Teorsky and Athletic Director Chuck Debor make their way to the school cafeteria on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. The two have worked together for 24 years and are close friends.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Highlands High School custodian and equipment manager Eddie Teorsky and Athletic Director Chuck Debor make their way to the school cafeteria on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. The two have worked together for 24 years and are close friends.
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