Daisymarie Gonzalez, Campus School 11th-grader, never imagined she would perform on a Broadway stage. However, Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Gilder Lehrman Institute developed an educational partnership to provide 20,000 public school students with the opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway and integrate the show into classroom studies.
Campus School was among those chosen to participate in this initiative. The students developed performance pieces. Each school participating videotaped their best performance piece and submitted it to the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Gonzalez's original poem, "Alexander Hamilton: My Life," was selected by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, to be performed for the cast of Hamilton and students from other participating schools.
In preparation for this event, teachers Karen Tucker and Lisette Van Voorhis guided 15 of the selected American History students through a unique, five-day hands-on class project using Gilder Lehrman Institute resources to introduce them to the people, events and documents of the founding era.
In addition, the students learned how Lin-Manuel Miranda incorporated primary sources into the songs he wrote for the show and used that knowledge to produce their own performance pieces. The student and teacher guides included an exclusive website featuring primary sources and videos to facilitate student research. Among the videos are clips from Hamilton and interviews with Miranda, selected cast members and Ron Chernow, whose biography Alexander Hamilton inspired the musical. This innovative program integrating history and performing arts allowed Campus teachers to bring American history into the classroom and helped students find their own connections to the founding era.
Following the student performance, the attendees asked questions and interacted with the Hamilton cast members.
"This was the most amazing experience of my life," Gonzalez said.
Miranda was also there and interacted with the students and performed a rap. The full day event culminated in the students watching a live performance of Hamilton.