Parkland Teacher To Be Honored With Award At Tonys

Grace Carr | Reporter

A drama teacher will receive a Tony award June 10 to honor her steadfast dedication to her students following the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

Melody Herzfeld of Parkland, Fla. will be honored with an “excellence in theater education” award at the 72nd Tony Awards, Inside Edition reported. Herzfeld, who has taught at Stoneman Douglas for 15 years, will receive the award at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

Herzfeld said she was shocked and thrilled when she found out she would receive an award.

“If I can say what I looked like, I was probably like … frozen,” she remarked, recounting that a Tony representative had called her while she was in class to tell her the news. “As a drama teacher, you always dream, ‘One day, I’ll be a star on the stage,'” she told Inside Edition, still in disbelief that she will not only get to attend the Tonys, but will grace the ceremony’s stage as well.

The award is about much more than just herself, she said, and represents the strength of her students and the entire community.

“I was so proud of my students,” she said. “My job is not to tell them how to be, or what to believe, or how to think. My job is only to support what their truths are and be behind them as a teacher.”

The award follows her choir’s performance of “Shine,” a song written by two of Herzfeld’s students and performed at CNN’s Town Hall following the massacre at Stoneman Douglas that killed 17 people and injured others. The shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was a former student of the school who had been expelled. (RELATED: Understanding The Parkland Shooting, And How We Can Prevent Another One)

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A former Stoneman Douglas student who now also teaches theater, Monica Andrews, nominated Herzfeld for the award.

“When I put in the application, I hoped the Tony voters and the League would not select her solely on what happened, but I wanted them to observe the impact she has had over the last 15 years of being a theater educator,” Andrews said. “She left that mark on all of us.”

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