Weehawken, NJ—11th grade U.S. history students, whose high school is a few hundred feet away from the site of the famous Hamilton-Burr duel, attended a February 8th matinee of Hamilton and performed on stage during a pre-performance education event hosted by the cast. In December the high school was notified that it was selected to participate in the Hamilton Education Program (EduHam) sponsored by the The Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation. According to Dr. Robert R. Zywicki, Weehawken’s Superintendent of Schools, teachers Michelle McCormick and Christine Mantineo, led the effort to get Weehawken accepted to Edhuam.
Before the matinee, Weehawken Students Jose Mesa, Devynn Givens, and Chris Arias performed a skit about American neutrality during the French Revolution on the Hamilton stage at the Richard Rodgers Theater. The skit was developed as part of an interdisciplinary project-based learning activity in the students’ U.S. History and English courses taught by Laurie Kroll and Kate Kitzie. Following the student performance, members of Hamilton’s cast held a Q and A on the musical and its historical and modern contexts.
Through Gilder Lehrman’s EduHam, accepted schools see the Tony Award winning musical and then are required to integrate Alexander Hamilton and period-related history into the classroom curriculum. The Hamilton Education Program is part of the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s broader mission to improve the teaching and learning of American history. Weehawken High School is a proud Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School through which teachers have developed history curricula that focuses on primary source document analysis.