Students spend day experiencing Hamilton


Seniors Cody Quiroz and Kaelyn Kowalski, one of 14 EduHam performances, rap a Hamilton-inspired song about the Whiskey Rebellion at the Fisher Theatre.

Lily Kalcec, Copy Editor

On Thursday, April 18, many Advanced Placement (A.P.) U.S. Government, U.S. History, and Composition students went to the Fisher Theatre to see Hamilton, a musical about the interesting life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Along with the musical, students were able to experience a Q&A session with some of the cast and watch 14 student performances about Hamilton’s time period, including a performance from RHS seniors Cody Quiroz and Kaelyn Kowalski.

This EduHam program was set up by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and Hamilton producers to give low-income schools the opportunity to see the highly prestigious and expensive musical while also learning much about early American history. A.P. U.S. Government teacher Emily Collias applied RHS to this program earlier this year, and the opportunity was granted soon after.

“When I saw Hamilton in Chicago this past summer, I knew it was something I wanted students to have the opportunity to see. I had heard there was a program for students to engage in the time period, so lots of googling led me to the Gilder Lehrman Institute that organizes the event as the show travels the country,” Collias said.

For only $10 per ticket, students were able to see a musical that normally costs hundreds of dollars. The only requirement was that there was some work to be done. This included studying Hamilton’s life and time period but ultimately culminated in a performance piece based off an event they learned or just simply found captivating.

On the day of the show, Michigan students participating in the EduHam program gathered in the Fisher Theatre. First up was the 14 student performances that were chosen out of the hundreds that were submitted. Quiroz and Kowalski performed a piece where they rapped about the Whiskey Rebellion.

“Performing at the Fisher was so amazing because the energy in the room was so high and so positive and it was just a lot of fun,” Quiroz said.

Both Quiroz and Kowalski, as well as many other EduHam students, thought the performances were extremely creative, ranging from powerful poems all the way to creative, upbeat songs.

After having lunch at nearby buildings downtown, the students gathered back to the theatre to finally see the musical. From optimistic songs such as “Alexander Hamilton” and “Non-Stop” in Act One to tear-jerkers such as “It’s Quiet Uptown” in Act Two, the audience stayed captivated throughout the lengthy two hour and 45 minute performance. Many students who had no previous knowledge of the musical could agree at the end that the cast put on a stellar performance.

“[Hamilton] was mesmerizing and a huge roller coaster of emotions of a beautifully portrayed story. It was just a beyond wonderful and unforgettable opportunity that our school was so lucky to be involved in,” sophomore Selena Lulic said.