PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – The drama students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are used to being on stage.
Their teacher, Melody Herzfeld, prefers to be behind the scenes.
“In my fifteen years, I’ve never even had a picture in the program, or a bio. Because it’s them. It’s their work. It’s their piece. Their stardom on the stage at school,” Herzfeld said.
But come Sunday, Herzfeld will be in the spotlight to receive the Excellence in Theatre Education Award at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards, honoring the best on Broadway and beyond.
“This is absolutely once in a lifetime,” she said. “I was waiting for one of my students to be on the Tony’s first. That’s where they should be. That’s who should be there first.”
Herzfeld is known to put her students before herself.
She reportedly saved 65 lives by barricading students into a small closet when the shooter opened fire at Stoneman Douglas on Valentine’s Day.
“It was a perfect day. We were in my classroom rehearsing. It all happened after that,” she recalled.
Herzfeld says the recognition is definitely bittersweet.
“It is difficult to take all this positive attention when we always work really hard for everything we do here. We’re very high achievers. Getting something for nothing doesn’t sit straight with us. And getting something in light of a horrific event doesn’t feel right,” she said. “But rest assured, I know personally getting a Tony award nomination is not taken lightly, regardless of the situation that’s going on. I know it was done with all the respect and privilege that it was given.”
Besides the award for Herzfeld, hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban say the show will pay tribute to the victims from Parkland.
“It represents how much arts can heal a community how much theater can heal and what heroes these teachers are,” Groban said.
For this hero teacher, she says she is proud of her students for raising their voices, despite their pain.
“There’s no way to replace what happened,” Herzfeld said. “But we’re going to be here for the kids.”
Herzfeld says she’ll attend the show with her husband and sons. But, no doubt, her students will be with her in spirit.
You can watch the 72nd Annual Tony Award’s Sunday night on CBS 4.