Parkland Drama Teacher Will Receive Tonys’ Education Award

Posted May 31, 2018 7:05 p.m. EDT

Melody Herzfeld, a drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and a survivor of the shooting there, will receive a theater education prize from the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University.

Herzfeld was on campus on Feb. 14 when a former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire on students, staff and faculty at the school, killing 17 people. She and dozens of her students hid in her office during the rampage for two hours before being taken to safety by authorities.

Herzfeld said in a statement that during a normal time she would feel “humbled and grateful for this recognition for the work I have done,” but since her students “have taken to action through speech, performance and passionate honesty it now means so much more.”

Only a week after the shooting, Herzfeld’s students performed “Shine,” an original song, at a CNN town hall meeting on gun violence.

Lyrics from the song include, “We’re done with all your little games. We’re tired of hearing that we’re too young to ever make a change. You’re not gonna knock us down. We’ll get back up again.”

“Shine” was released for purchase in March, with the proceeds going to Shine MSD, a nonprofit dedicated to helping victims of the violence.

An excellence in theater education award is given annually by the Tonys and the university to a K-12 theater teacher. The prize includes $10,000 for the winner’s theater program and tickets to the Tony Awards ceremony and gala. Herzfeld will receive her award at the Tonys on June 10 at Radio City Musical Hall.

Since beginning her career at Stoneman Douglas in 2003, Herzfeld has been responsible for more than 50 productions. She is the director of the school’s drama department.