Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, performed an emotional rendition of “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent at the 2018 Tony Awards show on Sunday night.

These are some of the students who will regrettably never forget this past Valentine’s Day when 17 lives were claimed by a former student on a killing spree at their high school.

The head of the drama department at the high school, Melody Herzfeld, was honored with the Excellence in Theatre Education Award by the Tonys and Carnegie Mellon University. She was recognized for her support in guiding students’ artistic abilities, as well as shielding 65 of them in her office on that fateful day.

“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,” Herzfeld said in 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 arts class.”

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Herzfeld has been working at the school since 2003. She also received a $10,000 prize with her award to go towards the drama program at Marjory Douglas.

This annual honor is bestowed to a K-12 teacher who “demonstrated monumental impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession.”

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