Star of NBC's 'Rise' helps CCA students
A network TV star is in Chattanooga, giving back to the school that gave him his start.
Damon Gillespie is a Chattanooga Center for the Creative Arts graduate. Now, he is better known as Robbie on the hit NBC show “RISE.”
Gillespie said it’s always been his dream to come back to his alma mater and help students. He said it’s what helped him when he was in school.
Students at CCA are training to perform in singing, dancing, and acting every day.
Now they are learning from a former student navigating the career they hope to one day break into.
“The emotion is so raw in this song,” Gillespie tells one student.
“It just gives me hope that, like I have the same kind of stepping stones of getting there eventually,” said CCA junior Nick Lyles, “It gives me a lot of hope.”
Lyles has hope after watching Gillespie succeed.
That’s the message Gillespie wants to send, “It can happen and it did! I was here. I was taking classes.”
CCA is where Damon got his start but during his visit he is not performing on the stage this time.
READ MORE | NBC's "Rise" starring Chattanooga native Damon Gillespie premieres Tuesday
Instead, he’s giving students feedback during a mock audition.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking!” said Lyles, “I’ve definitely been practicing and practicing this song!”
It was once in a lifetime experience for some students- with a very important lesson.
“ if you give up it will never happen. I know it’s scary,” advised Gillespie, “ I want them to be inspired and know that it can happen for them too.”
Saturday Gillespie is teaching a dance master class. It’s from 3:30 to 4:30 PM at CCA. Tickets are $25.
There is also a Talent Showcase Sunday, from 10:30-12:00 at CCA. Those tickets are $10.
Money raised supports CCA.