Need a 600 lb. box moved? Ask Mr. Souza


Taylor Souza

Mr. Souza hard at work at his night job.

Take a walk through the science hallways and you might see a new face. Not many students can boast about having a teacher who holds a deadlift powerlifting record. That’s right, Taylor Souza is a chemistry teacher by day and a professional powerlifter by night.

Joining the DHS faculty last year, Mr. Souza began his teaching career in chemistry, but it all began in an AP Chemistry class at Durfee High School. Until this AP course, Mr. Souza wasn’t overly fond of chemistry. However, the “challenging, different,” and interesting AP coursework drew him to chemistry. His hands-down favorite teacher, Mrs. Grillo, taught the class. Due to this class, Mr. Souza realized he enjoyed chemistry and wanted to pursue a career in it. While attending UMass Dartmouth and Duquesne University in Pittsburg, MA, he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in chemistry. Mr. Souza also completed some PhD work.

He then began working at AMGEN Pharmaceutical in the quality control division. While Mr. Souza enjoyed the chemistry aspect, something was missing in his career path.

While his pharmaceutical job held his chemistry interests, it lacked the social interaction Mr. Souza needed. “I enjoy the interactions [and] working with the kids,” Mr. Souza explained. Working eight hours a day in a cubicle was not fulfilling his desire for interaction. While still keeping chemistry in the equation, the answer to Mr. Souza’s problem was teaching.

This brings us to where we are today in room B8. When asked about his goals as a teacher, Mr. Souza replied, “I want to keep getting better at what I do,” while helping future generations and “evolving my teaching style.”

Surprisingly, his superhero passion is weightlifting. In search of an “outlet, a way to stress manage,” Mr. Souza started seriously lifting about four or five years ago. He uses it as a method to cope with stress and as a distraction from the hectic world, he says.

Mr. Souza is a competitive person, and adults don’t have many sports options other than the pros. Competitive weightlifting was the solution. 

Taylor Souza
Here is the evidence. Mr. Souza is a record holder.

Through intensive training 5-6 times per week, Mr. Souza recently took home the championship record title for the deadlift on April 20. He won first in the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) Championship in New Mexico in the drug-tested category.

He now holds the whopping record of a 589.7 pound deadlift.

Finally, Mr. Souza explains that his weightlifting passion and teaching careers go hand in hand. Both, he says fuel his “desire to become stronger” every day. Mr. Souza looks forward to his upcoming competition on October 26 in MA, as he attempts to take home three titles.

To Mr. Souza, “powerlifting is all about working towards a goal. You always want to get better, little by little.”