EduHam Welcomes Students into the “Room Where it Happens”
HAMILTON has helped an entire generation of students become interested in the riches of American history and through a special program conceived by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, a curriculum for high school students has been devised that encourages creativity while studying the American Revolution. Welcome to EduHam.
Part of the magic of EduHam are the student performances that begin the day, which also includes a Q&A with company members and a special student matinee. As part of the in-class curricula, students are challenged to create performance pieces based on a piece of history that they’ve studied, turning history into art, just like Lin-Manuel and his collaborators did with HAMILTON, itself based on the best-selling book by Ron Chernow.
The “And Peggy” company, currently playing at the SHN Orpheum Theatre through January 5, 2020, has had the pleasure of hosting two EduHam performances so far in 2019, hosting more than 2,400 students and teachers from San Francisco, Oakland, Eureka, Modesto, Stockton, San Jose, and all points between. Four additional EduHams are scheduled for the Fall semester.
When the students gather at the SHN Orpheum, more than a dozen of the “best of the best” student pieces are performed on the same stage as the hit show.
Daidrian D., who along with Mackenzie M. from East Bay Arts High School performed “The Whiskey Rebellion Rap” and told SHN “performing on a stage that big was AMAZING. Everyone working together backstage was mind-blowing.”
Isha C., a student from MetWest High School in Oakland concurred, “I really felt the energy of the crowd, and just to know that it was my peers from my same community was super powerful, and to know that they were really there with me – and my poem – was amazing.”
Coral S., from California Connections Academy, near Modesto, who wrote and performed an original song about Abigail Adams, said that EduHam made her a better student. “It enabled me to learn something in my own way. It made school a lot easier for me to sing about something rather than just reading from a textbook.”
The curricula has helped students use critical judgment when reading the texts and apply the lessons to their current lives. “I just think that telling the truth is so important and a lot of times, especially in traditional high schools when we use textbooks to tell stories, especially the story of the founding of America, it’s often that the truth is left out,” stated Isha. “It makes the story seem all flowers and daisies and nice, but that’s really not how it is. So, I feel inspired to learn the truth and then to tell it so everyone can know.”
Want to learn more? Read the article and see watch some of the performances, courtesy of the San Jose Mercury News.