The Tony Awards delivered a stirring moment on Sunday when the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s drama department took the stage to honor instructor Melody Herzfeld. The drama instructor led the drama department at Stoneman Douglas in over 50 productions since 2003 according to The New York Times, but gained nationwide notoriety for her actions on February 14th, 2018. Herzfeld barricaded 65 students into a small closet during the massacre at the high school.
Herzfeld made a point to mention her students and the push to make a difference following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida during her acceptance speech at the Creative Arts Awards portion of the 2018 Tony’s before the main telecast:
“Next to the passing of my dear parents and in-laws, marrying the love of my life and the birth of my amazing sons and reuniting with my theater students, there has never been a more defining moment of my life…All the goodness and tragedy that has brought me to this point will never be erased.”
And while it was a powerful speech, the moment would be overshadowed by the students themselves during the main telecast on Sunday night. The drama students took the stage to perform “Seasons of Love” from Rent:
It shouldn’t need saying, but folks online were struck by the moment and reacted accordingly on social media:
According to the Times, Herzfeld’s award includes a $10,000 prize for school’s theater program and tickets to the Tony Awards. It’s also the second time the students have used their talents to make a powerful statement, having previously performed an original song at the CNN town hall that preceded the March For Our Lives: