Meet Tyra Wimpye! Tyra is the Gainesville Middle School Drama Director and a lifelong Gainesville resident. She graduated from Spelman College with a degree in English Literature.
“I always tell people you know when you love what you’re doing when you can do it for free and late into the wee hours and not even notice. I love the performing arts and even more love seeing when my students gain the same passion I have. Within the directorial position there are a plethora of tasks to complete but my favorite moments are at the end of the productions and the audience is applauding my performers,” Tyra said.
We want to thank Tyra for spending time with us recently and telling us more about her life and love of Hall County.
Question: Please tell us a little about your background and family:
Answer: “Well it’s not everyday you hear the last name, ‘Wimpye.’ My family has been in Gainesville forever and usually if you don’t know one you know all. I am Gainesville born and raised and a true Red Elephant. I was born and raised in Gainesville and now an adult living and growing others in my community. After high School I received my bachelors degree in English Literature from Spelman College. Many may not know that I had planned to be in Berkeley, Calif. post graduation but due to an unexpected major surgery I was brought back home…talk about trusting your journey. Now, I can’t imagine my life being any different and I’m thankful my challenge became one of my biggest blessings.”
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: “I am currently the Drama Director at Gainesville Middle School. Opportunity, alignment and purpose led me to my career. I always tell people you know when you love what you’re doing when you can do it for free and late into the wee hours and not even notice. I love the performing arts and even more love seeing when my students gain the same passion I have. Within the directorial position there are a plethora of tasks to complete but my favorite moments are at the end of the productions and the audience is applauding my performers. You can see on their faces that they feel their immaculate worth and they genuinely feel they belong…..more than magical.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “Living in the South and not eating beef, pork, and limited dairy takes quite the effort! Despite my food restrictions I can’t get enough of Avocados on the square. The heavenly chicken tenders and angel kissed fries or when I’m actually eating my age the grilled chicken sandwich…always get the ranch!”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Hall County?
A: “Twenty-five years…ALL MY LIFE minus the four years I lived in Atlanta at Spelman College.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Hall County and why?
A: “The most interesting person I’ve met in Hall County is a man by the name of Roger Drake ( & wife Molly Drake). Roger is a former member of the United States Air Force and a Delta Airlines Pilot. He and his wife are two of the most giving and transparent people I have met. They give beyond differences, limitations and with purpose. They have sewn life into many in the community as well as myself silently but with large impact. He manages the trains and automotive toys at I.N.K. and they can dance anything from waltz to tango. Roger has instilled in me that when you see a flame add wood and nurture it and wow that flame will become a fire that warms all surrounding.”
Q: What is your favorite childhood memory?
A: “Definitely moments between performing on stage at GHS and cheering Friday Nights for GHS. It’s nothing like those two experiences of giving and receiving energy with my friends and community.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
A: “I would go to Africa. I feel like now more than ever I need to be immersed in culture and adventure through my beginnings.”
Q: What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “‘Rugrats Go Wild!’ While watching you got a scratch and sniff card to follow along with to enhance the experience. I’m really exposing my adolescence but I was and still to this day was impressed by using all my senses in one sitting of a film.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Everyday Alive is a Day Worth Living. Enjoy every minute of life and don’t put anything off and don’t put anyone down.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “Go on an international food tour! Starting every meal with dessert.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “My playlist Goes from Broadway Hits to Outkast then jumps to Bon Jovi.”
Q: What local business makes you the most nostalgic about Hall County and why?
A: “Dairy Burger on Athens Street just past the train tracks. I pass it every morning and afternoon still to this day. My family used to order lunch from there on Saturdays, stop by before ballet class during the week, and although a new restaurant has taken its place I can still taste the comfort food they served.”
Q: Choosing anyone (past or present and a non-relative), with whom would you love to have lunch? And where locally would you have this lunch?
A: “I would have lunch with Michelle Obama! I would take her to my mom’s kitchen, make her cinnamon rolls made by Gainesville’s own Belinda Dickey and sit and talk about everything BUT politics.”
Q: What is your favorite thing about Hall County?
A: “Hall County/Gainesville is my Genesis. The preface of all of my dreams, the reflections in my motivations and the root of my drive for service. I love that no matter where I am I feel a sense of home.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: Being the Director of a diverse and passionate Drama/Theatre Department. I love to build programs and I am a millennial nomad so staying in one place for long isn’t my plan. Although in a perfect world all of that plus a family, home with a space for gathering and entertaining, my G-Wagon and Chocolate Doodle…a girl can manifest right?”
Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I’ve never had a Whopper or Big Mac and I went to Disney World two times when I was younger and didn’t ride a single roller coaster…needless to say my fearful days are over.”
Q: What three words mean “Home” to you?
A: “Family, Memories and Support.”
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: “My brother! Triston Wimpye. He is currently in California and is one of the best writers/actors I know. He is at the beginning stages of his career but with his passion, talent and faith he’ll be listed as someone else’s famous/world-renowned co-star soon.”
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
A: “Beyonce…Need I say more?”