'The art of clowning': Middle Georgia native returns to open clown college

    Miles Garrett (WGXA)

    MONROE COUNTY, Ga. -- A graduate of Mary Persons High School in Forsyth has returned to Middle Georgia to open up a clown academy.

    The college's graduation is on August 17, and clowns from all over the US and even other countries have come to the midstate to learn how to be a clown.

    "The classes are long and intensive and you learn. You're exhausted after the week because your brain is full of new things but it's wonderful. It's a good kind of tired," said Kerry Ringness.

    Ringness came to Forsyth from Canada to participate, and said the classes taught her how to dig deeper into her character.

    "Teaching the art of clowning. They're teaching character and the heart of the clown. The important part of the clown has been lost over the years," Ringness said.

    Owner of the American Clown Academy Lee Andrews helped bring the school to Forsyth to spread joy and make people laugh.

    "I want to make people happy, I want to be a clown. My dad said 'What?' I said I want to be a clown. It's now my full-time profession and I get to share it with other people so it's really cool," said Andrews.

    The clowns practice and learn new skills for one week and then perform at the Monroe County Fine Arts Center. Andrews said that seeing them all on stage is a dream come true.

    "I'm giddy looking around and seeing these clowns. To see this come together the way it has, I'm just blown away and humbled," Andrews said.

    Bill Schober, or "Schobo," came from New Jersey to learn more about clowning. He said in times like these, people need clowns to laugh.

    "Clowns are needed more today than ever. Everyone takes things so serious. We need to laugh more. We just need to flat out laugh because life is not that serious," said Schober.

    Find out more about the American Clown Academy.

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