CeCe Conrath, theater teacher at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, was the 2016 inductee for the Georgia Thespians Hall of Fame for Theatre Educators. She was honored at the state thespian conference Feb. 4-6.
“This was a complete shock. I had no idea until Kimberly came out and started talking, and then my family showed up on stage,” Conrath said.
Conrath has been teaching at Lakeview since 1998 and started her education career in 1990 at Central Gwinnett High School.
Honorees must have 20 years of service and a significant impact on theater programs and students.
Lakeview has won the state one-act play for its class the past three years in a row and has taken second two other times under Conrath. In the fall, the theater group performed “Catch Me If You Can” to win the championship.
The school’s theater program has almost 65 students, performers and crew, she said.
Kimberly Staples, theater director at Buford High School, nominated Conrath for the award. Pam Ware from Gainesville High School and Jan Ewing from North Hall High wrote letters of recommendation. Staples and Ware are also members of the Hall of Fame.
Conrath is on the chapter board for the Georgia Thespians and is the individual event coordinator for the conference.
The conference attracted 4,800 people. Lakeview’s “Don’t Break the Rules” performance for the individual event was picked as one of 10 from more than 300 entries to be in the closing showcase for the entire conference.
“That was a big deal,” Conrath said.
The three-day conference included competitions, shows and workshops. Lakeview students were visible in multiple ways.
Five students — four performers and an overall stage manager — were part of the all-state opening number. The students were Erin Lyles, Haley Moyer, Chapin Smith, Christopher Jue and Sarah Campbell.
Sam Dubin received one of 12 thespian scholarships, named for Ray Horne. Dubin and Jackson Pratt were state thespian officers and helped organize and run the conference.
“I do love it. It’s a joy,” Conrath said about her career and teaching at Lakeview.
She and her students are preparing the spring musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
Conrath started as an English teacher after she minored in theater. She took over the theater program in her second year.
Conrath came to East Hall High School in 1994 and started the theater program there, she said.
She said several past students have performed professionally and several others have been, and are, active in community theaters.