Longtime Cass Tech drama teacher wins Tony Award

Image 1 of 8

A local teacher has dedicated her life to inspiring students at Detroit's Cass Tech High School, and she's just days away from retirement. We first shared Mrs. McCormick's story during Black History Month -- and now the local drama teacher can add Tony Award Winner to her list of accomplishments.

More than a thousand educators nationwide were nominated for the award -- and Marilyn McCormick won.

"It feels like it's an out-of-the-body experience," she told us.

Mrs. McCormick grew up in Detroit, graduated from Cass Tech and spent the past four decades sharing her wealth of knowledge in the performing arts.

"I'm going to miss the kids so much," she said. "Because, I guess they gave me purpose. If nothing else, I know I have to get up and go because I know I can touch somebody's life today."

On a national stage, McCormick accepted this year's excellence in theatre education award at the Tonys. What's ironic is that she had a smaller goal -- to just sit in the Tony Award audience one day.

"Yes, I walked on that stage," she said. "I was like 'Oh my gosh, what am I doing?' I'm walking over here and Josh Groban, who gave me my award, he was standing there like the gates of heaven had opened up."

While at the Tony Awards, McCormick met some well-known and iconic people.

"When I was on the red carpet, I said to somebody, truly I feel like Dorothy, and I wasn't in Kansas anymore," she said. "Everybody was like 'That's the teacher; that's the teacher!' They were saying how important the award was and the fact that educators don't get recognition. And if it wasn't for an educator, none of them would be where they were."

When the school year comes to an end Friday that will be it for Ms. McCormick teaching at Cass Tech.

Although she will be taking part in some teaching programs at local universities and welcoming a grand baby this summer, the days of being in the classroom five days a week are wrapping up.

"It's bittersweet," she said.