LAKE COMO — Students at Academy Charter High School were headed to Broadway Wednesday after receiving a Gilder Lehrman grant enabling them to see a performance of the very popular musical, “Hamilton.”
The grant, secured by history teacher Tom Shields, pays for tickets to the Feb. 1 matinee of the award-winning Broadway musical.
The trip represents a welcome return for Mr. Shields, who was last able to bring students to a performance of “Hamilton” in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. The ensuing health restrictions put in place for Broadway and New York City made the outing impossible for the last few years.
With restrictions eased, the school is once again able to send classes to New York and Mr. Shields expressed pleasure this week at the prospect of being “welcomed back into the city.”
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History grant comes with a five-day curriculum that the students must complete before the tickets are given.
The course requires students to analyze primary source documents from Alexander Hamilton himself, as well as answer a series of questions and compose a performance, short rap, or poem about what they have read.
“Some are very funny, while some are very serious,” Mr. Shields said of the students’ songs for the assignment. Only students who have done the assignment are allowed to attend the show as per the rules of the grant.
“[Hamilton] really brings U.S. 1 to life,” said Mr. Shields, adding that getting a visual representation of American history is a valuable aid to his teaching of the history course.
About 50 tickets were provided to the school and students from freshman to senior classes will be attending the musical.
Students who are seniors now remember going on this trip when they were freshman and are very excited to return to the city and to Broadway, according to Mr. Shields, who called their return visit a “nice dessert for our seniors.”
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