Gina Parrish, the theatre director at Norcross High School, has been inducted into the Educational Theatre Association’s Hall of Fame. Parrish, who is in her 29th year as a teacher and director, says she is humbled by the honor.
“To receive this honor from the Educational Theatre Association is just beyond words and to have my family there when I was honored – priceless,” Parrish said. “It is the kids that motivate me 100%. When I feel like it might be time to hang it up, I get an email from a former student telling me how he might have dropped out had it not been for drama. Last year we lost one of our drama family members to a brain tumor. It was the strength that the kids and I gave to each other that got us through. I say this all of the time… I have the very best job in the world.”
Educational Theatre Association Hall of Fame inductees are selected by a committee that includes one member of the Association’s Board of Directors, one other volunteer leader, and one member of the Hall of Fame. The judges base their decisions on several criteria, including professional achievement, education, continuing education, community service, commitment to theatre and theatre education, past work with the Educational Theatre Association or its forerunners, and letters of recommendation from peers. Parrish, who was inducted into the Georgia Thespian Hall of Fame in 2011, credits the culture and leadership in Gwinnett County for creating an environment where she and her students can grow.
“I have had a strong group of supportive administrators who have backed me in my work with the kids. For example, former principal Dr. Jonathan Patterson, now an associate superintendent for the district, who, when we won state at GHSA One-Act, treated our group just the same as he would have the football team for winning a championship,” Parrish said.
The Educational Theatre Association’s Hall of Fame was established by the Association’s Board of Directors in 1990 to recognize those members who have made outstanding contributions to theatre education.