BAYONNE -- Students in the Academy for Fine Arts and Academics at Bayonne High School -- through the Hamilton Education Grant program -- got the full musical experience last week, with two students performing in front of a sizable audience.
Some 100 11th-grade students in the academy went to the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York City on Feb. 15 for a full-day experience after exploring the history of the founding fathers and connecting it to the Broadway musical, Hamilton.
Bayonne history teachers James Murphy, Keri Toomey, Neil Carroll and Jessica Mintz -- working with music teacher Lori Alexander -- presented a three-day lesson using curriculum to explore the era in depth and by using primary source documents to research some of the founding fathers.
Students then worked individually or in pairs to write original performance pieces, including poems, monologues and dramatic scenes.
Two students, Abigail Isaac and Kermena Abdallah, wrote a piece about the life of Elizabeth Schuyler, the wife of Alexander Hamilton, and they performed it on stage at the Rodgers Theater to an audience of more than 1,500 students and staff from other participating schools.
The two students then got the chance to meet with the cast and crew of Hamilton. Through grant funding, the students paid only $10 each to see the hit play.
"Hamilton was amazing, but more importantly the (educational program) transformed some of our students' lives yesterday," said Dan Ward, director of history for the Bayonne public schools. "Look out world, because the next Lin Manuel Miranda is coming for you and she's from Bayonne!"
Bayonne High was selected as a recipient of the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and Rockefeller Foundation Hamilton Education Grant Program, thanks to two academy teachers, Lori Alexander and Jessica Mintz.
"This experience would not have been possible without (them)," said Laura Craig, supervisor of special programs and coordinator of the academy.
"In addition to completing the grant application for their students, Ms. Alexander and Ms. Mintz oversaw the curriculum, preparations, and details of the grant program and field trip with enthusiasm and expertise, providing our students with a truly once in a lifetime experience that they will never forget."
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