Who will tell the intriguing story about one of America’s Founding Fathers’ Alexander Hamilton? 45 students from CA Frost and University Prep High Schools will!
Recipients of a special grant from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History – a nonprofit organization that promotes K-12 American history education – CA Frost and University Prep high school choir students were welcomed to Chicago’s Private Bank Theatre on November 15 to enjoy Hamilton – An American Musical.
With ticket prices soaring upwards of $1,000, this grant required students to take ownership of their learning by completing a “Hamilton” inspired curriculum project prior to attending. The project? Students were asked to pick a point and a player in the Founding Era (the rebellion, revolution and founding of the American nation) of history, take that cue and create a song, a scene or a monologue from that character’s point of view.
“It wasn’t until a group of three freshman boys – Robert, Connor and Torren – came to me asking how they could express anger, frustration and raw emotion in their writing that I realized this project and this experience could be life changing for my students,” explained Ann Marie Theis, CA Frost High School Choir teacher. “Not only were my students talking passionately about music and history, they were critically thinking and making connections within their creative writing!”
For more than two months, students worked on their curriculum assignments, and earned their way to the Hamilton spotlight! For Robert, Connor and Torren, this adventure would surely be a memorable one. Selected as one of the top 10 submissions, these three unsuspecting boys would perform their original rap scene about the Constitutional Convention for the cast and the other 2,497 students in attendance.
Through hip-hop, rap and poetic rhythm rhymes, 45 GRPS students embraced America’s story in a truly unique way. Navigating the often times treacherous waters of the Founding Era, Hamilton creatively reintroduced students – using a diverse cast – to key characters and events that shaped American history – our history. Meeting students where they are meant making more of an impact on their learning!
Thanks to the generosity of donors, the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation was able to provide the needed transportation to their destination. If you would like more information about how you can get involved and strengthen the educational experiences of all GRPS students, visit us at www.grsaf.org.