The drama students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took to the Tony Awards stage on Sunday night to perform “Seasons of Love” from the hit musical Rent. The performance earned the students a rousing standing ovation.
Standing on a dark stage with the lights centered on the students, they managed to impress a room full of seasoned theater veterans.
Melody Herzfeld, their drama teacher, was honored with a Tony Award for excellence in theater education from the Tonys and Carnegie Mellon University. Herzfeld hid in her office with 65 students as a mass shooter opened fire on the school on February 14, 2018.
“I remember on February 7th, sharing a circle with my beloved students, and encouraging them to be good to each other when times were trying, and to keep the family together,” she said during her acceptance speech.
“I remember only a week later, on February 14th, a perfect day, where all these lessons in my life and in their short lives would be called upon to set into action … We all have a common energy. We all want the same thing. We cannot deny it: To be heard, to tell our truth, to make a difference and to be loyally respected. We teach this every day in every art class.”
Here’s Herzfeld’s amazing acceptance speech:
Herzfeld has been leading the school’s drama department since 2003 and has overseen more than 50 productions. She received $10,000 from Carnegie Mellon.
And now the performance that brought the audience to tears: