Cicely Tyson put heart and soul into New Jersey school

EAST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- At the Cicely Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts, Ms. Tyson did not merely lend her name, she put her heart and soul into the students, staff, and community.

"She represented everything I wanted to be - genuine, heartwarming," said guidance counselor Merolyn Kelly.

"As a Black woman, especially now, her energy is needed. Anyone who meets her knows she is kind," added senior Nimat Saleem.

WATCH | 'Live with Kelly and Ryan' honored to conduct last interview with Cicely Tyson
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Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest had the honor of interviewing legendary actress Cicely Tyson the day before her death at age 96.

Elijah Ahmed Lewis worked with Tyson at the school. He went on to Broadway in Motown the Musical, and 'Ain't too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations.'

"There's one moment I won't forget - she was on the red carpet...she shouted my name. To have an icon do that," said Lewis.

She walked and knew the halls of the school - and she also knew the people.

ALSO READ | Cicely Tyson, award-winning, groundbreaking actress dies at 96

"She didn't just do cameos...she stayed, she walked through this school," said East Orange Mayor Ted Green.

"As young Black and brown kids, having the opportunity to come face to face with this legend means so much," added former principal Passion Moss-Hasan.

The love of the regal master actress was felt all throughout the community - and that is what you call a lasting legacy.

ALSO READ | Remembering award-winning actress Cicely Tyson and her NYC roots
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Jim Dolan has more on the life and legacy of groundbreaking actress Cicely Tyson, who died at the age of 96 on Thursday.

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