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Charlottesville high school drama teacher to receive special Tony Award for racial justice plays

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A high school teacher in Charlottesville, Va., will be honored with a special Tony Award for her role in helping students better understand racial injustices following the deadly white supremacist rallies in 2017.

Monticello High School theater director Madeline Michel is set to receive the 2019 Excellence in Theatre Education Award next month at the Tony Awards ceremony in New York City, according to The Associated Press.

Michel is being honored for helping her students organize and produce several student-written theater performances centering on racial justice.

{mosads}“This program is not about me, because it has to be about my students,” Michel said in a statement to the AP. “They are our future. They are the people that are going to change the world and make it better. These are the kids who give me so much hope in some very dark times.”

One of the performances, titled “A King’s Story,” focuses on a fictional black teenager from Charlottesville who is shot and killed by police.

Another student-led work, titled “#WhileBlack,” is about racial profiling, and “Necessary Trouble” examines racial and identity symbols high schoolers interact with on a daily basis, according to the AP.

The award Michel is set to receive is given annually to a K-12 teacher who makes a “monumental impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession.” The 2018 award was given to Melody Herzfeld, the drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which was the site of a mass shooting in February 2018.

Michel’s theater works come less than two years after the “Unite the Right” rally on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. The demonstration turned violent, leading to the death of Heather Heyer when a man drove his car into a group of counterprotesters.

White nationalists were rallying in the city in August 2017 to protest plans to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Tags charlottesville rally Tony Awards

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