LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) – Contrary to the program he runs, Mosley High School Drama Director Bruce Taws doesn’t like to be in the spotlight.
“Students run this thing. I am nowhere except backstage making sure no one is hurt,” said Taws. “They call the show. They run the lights, they run the sound. I think they can learn lifelong skills just from the shows that they do.”
He’ll tell you his students work hard. But they’ll tell you, so does he.
“He doesn’t like to admit it, but he is the backbone of this,” said Senior Lucas Voorhies. “He’s the glue and everything.”
Taws builds sets, casts shows, and inspires these kids to do their best. He puts in time afterschool with rehearsals and on Saturdays for set building.
“I want people walking away asking, ‘that was a high school show’?”
Taws said he helps his students leave a legacy during their time at Mosley.
“The motto is taking the stage, leaving a legacy,” said Taws. “For us, beyond our four little years as high school students, we’re going to leave something that is something that people can be proud of for years to come.”
“He has definitely helped me get to where I am today. I would definitely not be as talented or where I am without him,” said Senior Nyla Parker.
Parker is the head choreographer in Mosley Drama’s most recent production, “Elf.”
She’s been a student of Taws since freshman year.
“I am very very grateful for him,” said Parker. “I look to him as a father figure because that’s what he is for a lot of people.”
“I am just as proud of my students when I see them do this as I am my children and my grandchildren,” said Taws.
Taws said his students are the reason why he shows up to work, despite dealing with some health issues. Taws lives with one lung and frequently deals with bronchitis. He also has a tumor on his vocal chords.
“Those challenges all seem to go away when I think about what we do and how am I going to be enough for the kids,” said Taws. “I always tell the kids I’m sorry I’m not enough for you, I wish I were more.”
But to his students, he is more than enough.
“We are so grateful for Taws,” said Parker. “We love him very very much.”
Taws has a passion for teaching his students and grows close to them too, which makes it difficult when the last curtain falls.
“It’s hard when the show ends because I feel like a little part of me is gone,” said Taws.
Taws said theater is tangible. It’s the reason why he fell in love teaching it.
He actually began his career teaching English at Wewahitchka High School.
“I knew I needed to do something demonstrable [and] I knew English wasn’t necessary that thing but I tried to find aspects.”
He shifted into the drama after someone approached him about directing a play at Wewahitchka High. This year marks his 37th year teaching, and his 18th year at Mosley High as the Drama Director.
“Elf” which wrapped up last weekend, became Taws’ 288th show he’s been a part of in his nearly four decades of teaching.