By Nicole Heubusch
It’s been five years since Casey Vaughan graduated from Riverview High School (RVHS), and this fall she is back, this time teaching. She once was an avid theatre student at Riverview under the leadership of the late Daron Hawkins, and is now the new theatre teacher at the high school. After graduating from Florida State University in 2013 with a double major in English education and theatre, and a year of teaching at Newsome High School, Vaughan has settled down into the position held by her mentor.
After participating in plays and musicals throughout her high school career, Vaughan always wanted to perform more than teach, until her senior year. During the production of Hello Dolly, the band teacher was injured, and Vaughan stepped up to help the cast learn the music.
“Seeing how much of an impact I could have on the way a show comes together definitely showed me how much I really wanted to teach,” said Vaughan.
Vaughan first became interested in theatre as a student at Progress Village, and her background of a musically talented and theatrical family helped keep her interest in the arts. She took theatre classes under Hawkins and takes what she learned from him to help her connect with her students.
“He cared about us in his own way and that was why he pushed us to do better, to work harder and to set our own bars higher than we thought we could reach. I love the concept that pushing students is the best way to show you care, because that means you want to see them be as successful as possible throughout the rest of their lives, not just in your classroom,” said Vaughan.
This past September marked the anniversary of Hawkins passing, and Vaughan joined the 100 students, faculty and alumni that attended his tribute held at RVHS. They released red balloons outside the school to honor him.
Riverview’s theatre program will be putting on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Thursday-Saturday, November 6, 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets at the door are $5 and the show is not recommended for elementary students due to mature humor. For more information about RVHS, visit riverviewhs.mysdhc.org.