Kennedy Students Meet “Hamilton”

The Hamilton field trip for Kennedy students

by  Elizabeth Santos Bosch (Staff Writer) – 11/03/17

John F. Kennedy students will get the chance to view the famous Hamilton musical this November at the Pantages Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.

Only 60 students are allowed to go to the field trip, which will be all day on Thursday, November 2nd, when the selected few will get a chance to view the musical and meet the cast in a Q&A.

Hamilton is a famous musical about one of America’s founding fathers that in the past few years has provided students around the country discounted or free tickets to view. This project has allowed thousands of students to view the hit musical that is described as a “Hip-Hop-Infused History Lesson” by the New York Times.

Students working on the project had to create “a written work correlating to the revolution with the knowledge that if our group did win, we’d have to perform it,” explained Taylor Nichols, an 11th grade student who participated in the project and is currently awaiting the results along with her group members.

This project was announced in 2015 during a National Conference for Social Studies teachers by Ron Nash. Dr. Scott Petri was the only teacher from Kennedy to participate after hearing about this project, and once the applications went out, he signed up. This project is aimed at Title I schools and only 113 schools were selected to participate.

Kennedy 11th grade students were given the opportunity to participate in a project that could earn them a ticket from the 60 given to the school. Students had to research and create projects around how Lin-Manuel Miranda told the compelling story of Alexander Hamilton and research about who Hamilton is and what he did during his lifetime.

Although Kennedy received this opportunity to participate in this project, not many sought to take advantage of it. In Tamara Bakennus’s class, only 15 students participated out of 150 that signed up. Although all 60 tickets were claimed, many students simply did not sign up to participate for the chance to win one of the tickets.

“Kennedy has this chance because I was the only Kennedy teacher that went to the National Council for Social Studies Conference. The school and LAUSD need to reinforce the commitment to teachers and professional learning,” reflected Petri.

The project is being funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the producers of this musical, and the program brought 20,000 New York City 11th graders from all schools. The project started in New York City and after the success it had, it began its tour to Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. A lot of money and effort has been put into this project, and at least 6,780 tickets have been issued and given to 113 schools around Los Angeles, giving many students the chance to view the musical that has many wanting to watch it.