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Acting alumni laud impact of teacher
'All of our lives were changed dramatically'
Forsyth Central High Principal Rudy Hampton introduces Yatesy Harvey to an audience packed with former and current students, teachers and friends during a surprise retirement party. - photo by Autumn McBride

An outgoing Forsyth Central High educator received a surprise from several former students recently.

Yatesy Harvey, the school’s longtime drama teacher, was surprised following the annual drama department awards event for seniors on May 20.

Former student Jeremy Skinner said Harvey’s past pupils and some fellow teachers organized the celebration.

“After the senior honors, we all snuck around and went inside the auditorium,” he said, explaining that current students kept Harvey backstage until the seating area was nearly full.

“When she came out and saw everybody, it brought her to tears,” Skinner said.

The celebration of Harvey’s career included a number of scenes from past shows she had led, as well as tributes by former students and school leaders.

Skinner said students from every “generation” of Harvey’s 20-plus-year career at Central participated, some having traveled from as far away as Texas and Seattle to take part.

“It was a very, very heartfelt night,” Skinner said.

Under Harvey’s direction, the Central drama program has had many successes over the years, including numerous regional, state and national awards.

She also helped found POPA, Parents of Performing Artists, to serve as a booster club to support students involved in the arts.

Skinner said the auditorium “was almost full” of Harvey fans wishing to express the impact she has had on them.

“All of our lives were changed dramatically because of her,” he said. “A lot of who I am today is because of who she helped me to become.”