Students from Southeast Whitfield High School's drama program will receive the Show Stopper award Thursday when Georgia Public Broadcasting airs the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards at 8 p.m.

The awards are also known as the Shuler Awards, named for Georgia native and Tony Award-winning actor and singer Shuler Hensley.

Southeast will receive the award for its performance of "Gee, Officer Krupke" from the musical "West Side Story." The event is at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta.

Alana Sane, Southeast's drama teacher, said when the judges announced the award recipients during a livestream in September, she and the drama students were "very surprised."

"You know the sound Scooby-Doo makes in the cartoon when a villain is revealed?" Sane asked. "That was our reaction, followed by tears, cheers and jumping up and down."

Sane received an honorable mention for lighting design for "West Side Story."

Two Southeast students — senior Logan Teague and sophomore Shelby Hern — will perform in the opening and closing acts of the show, respectively, with other students from Georgia.

Twelve Southeast students of the 70 who are attending will perform "Gee, Officer Krupke."

"This is a great opportunity for our program," Sane said. "It's amazing to be in the company of all the other schools, some with bigger fine arts budgets than us."

Sane said other schools in the area attending the awards show are Calhoun, Gordon Central and Ringgold.

She said it's been a "crazy year" for the Southeast drama program, including its presentation of "The Amish Project" at the Georgia High School Association Region 4-A One-Act Play Competition in December and advancing to state competition.

"I’m tired, but it's been worth it because we have such talented kids in our program," she said.

Matthew Pedigo, who portrays the character of Action in "West Side Story," said the drama students work hard.

"I’m glad all of our hard work paid off," he said. "Southeast has an amazing fine arts program and I’m honored to be a part of it."

Students rehearsed all week at the venue to prepare for the show. There will be a red carpet walk, photos and interviews.

"It's a formal event," Sane said. "I've been hemming tux pants and dresses all week."

Teague said he's enjoyed being a part of an "amazing" ensemble with students from other schools.

"The talent and passion everyone has for music and the arts is amazing," he said. "It's been a great experience watching the show come together."

Adrea Norrell, a sophomore, said she's still in awe that her school is participating in the awards show.

"It's crazy because we are the only school from Whitfield County that's going to the Shulers," she said.

Norrell said all of the drama program's success is due to its teacher.

"I don't think the public really knows how much Mrs. Sane does for us and the school," she said. "To have this massive opportunity really shows the talent we have."

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