Being in The Room Where It Happens

Students get the opportunity to see the Broadway Musical Hamilton live

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Being in The Room Where It Happens

Bryanna DePiro, A&E Editor

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When Social Studies teacher Leslie Clark first heard about the Hamilton Education Program on the news, she never thought the opportunity would be given to any schools not located in New York City.

The Hamilton Education Program is an organization that gave grants to schools so they could take juniors in U.S. History to go see the famous Broadway musical, Hamilton.

That was until last year, when she received an email from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of US History advertising the program in Seattle, she immediately signed up. “When I didn’t hear back for a few months I applied again…just in case!” she exclaimed.

The students who wanted to participate had to come up with a creative piece, whether it be a poem, a song, a dance, etc. about an event in history, and record themselves performing it, then submit it.  “The work that students here at MVHS did to participate in this project was amazing. There were so many thoughtful pieces of writing that completely impressed me,” said Clark.

All of that hard work finally paid off on Wednesday, March 14th, at six thirty in the morning, as the participating juniors loaded onto buses to head off to The Paramount Theatre. Watching the sun, and their excitement rise up on the way there.

Once the students arrived at The Paramount, they were all seated and got to watch some of the student performances that were chosen by the Hamilton Education Program. They saw students from other schools perform raps, poems, or songs that they wrote.  “So many students created something that they didn’t think they were capable of doing, which is a powerful experience,” said Clark.

During one of these performances, there was a student from one of the schools who forgot part of their poem, “Something else that I will never forget was just the energy and sound of 2800 teenagers as they cheered on a student performer who was struggling. I have always said that teenagers don’t get enough credit, and this moment was proof,” Clark said.

After the performances, the students got to participate in a Q and A with the cast. They addressed many political issues that are still going on to this day, such as gender inequality and racism.

Afterwards the students got to walk to a nearby mall for lunch, and then returned to The Paramount to watch the Broadway Musical, Hamilton, a show about the life of Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. It has a multicultural cast, and brings attention to issues such as discrimination, racism, and sexism.

Many of the students were familiar with the soundtrack, and finally got to see it live. Whereas other students had never heard any of the songs, or even a musical for that matter. “I think my favorite part of the whole was hearing my students yell, cheer, laugh, and cry as they enjoyed the show,” she said.

“Whether it is academic or personal, I hope that the whole project has opened their eyes to something new.  Maybe it is to a world of music and performance that they hadn’t yet experienced, or to the love of being in a big city, just participating in something different can really open up doors that had previously been closed,” said Clark.

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