Last fall, over 50 students and a dozen chaperones from Oscar De La Hoya Ánimo Charter High School (ODLH), Ánimo Venice Charter High School, and Ánimo Jackie Robinson Charter High School, traveled to the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood to attend a special performance of the smash-hit musical Hamilton. The Broadway show, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Drama and received a record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations that year. To make the afternoon even more special, two ODLH students were chosen to share the Hamilton stage and perform a project from their U.S. History class!
Getting to the Hamilton Stage
Eager to expose his students to more live theatre, ODLH drama teacher Perry Shields applied to the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s Hamilton Education Program. The program was developed through a partnership between Hamilton, local donors, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. As part of the program, Perry coordinated with the 11th grade Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History teacher Yvonne Pruitt and AP English Language teacher Sarah Flores to implement curriculum that combined Founding Era classroom resources developed by the Institute and document-based student projects.
Students also had the opportunity to submit a project that was created as a result of the program curriculum for a chance to be selected to perform their work on the Hamilton stage. ODLH juniors Emily Cordero and Emmanuel Fonseca were two of the chosen performers, after submitting a video of their own history lesson about George Washington taught through hip hop.
A Deepened Understanding
At Green Dot, we believe that performing arts education provides an outlet for young voices, and challenges students’ perceptions about themselves and the world they live in. By coordinating curriculum across Drama, History, and English classes, educators are reinforcing knowledge and skills that help students access deeper level thinking and understanding of subject matter.
Thanks to this incredible opportunity from Gilder Lehrman Institute’s Hamilton Education Program, and the hard work of teachers at ODLH and across the network, students are engaging history on a deeper level--and enjoying it through top-notch staged works like Hamilton.