New program combines US history, Hamilton musical in Utah classrooms
MONTICELLO, Utah – It’s a new craze hitting schools across the nation: EduHam. It’s a program combining U.S. history and the popular musical, Hamilton. In all, 40 schools from all over Utah are participating, with 2,300 students in total enrolled in the program.
“I love listening to the soundtrack. I’ve been listening to it for like a year,” Monticello High School student Aspen English said. “It is so great that we get to learn about our founding fathers in a unique way.”
This past semester, in their U.S. history classes, students studied Alexander Hamilton, the man and the musical, with the goal of seeing the show at the Eccles Theatre in downtown Salt Lake City. Each school had to submit an application to participate in EduHam.
“Oh my gosh, I absolutely freaked out,” she said. “I really enjoy the musical, so I am glad we get to work to see the musical at the end of the semester.”
The program was adopted by Mr. Dimick’s U.S. history classes at the beginning of the school year.
“It’s fun to see them get stoked about something that happened a long time ago,” East High School teacher Matt Dimick said.
His students spent the semester learning about our founding fathers and creating a unique way to share that history through a performance.
“So just like the producers of the musical, they look at a primary source document, pull out the keywords and then they have to convey the meaning through a poem, rap, or act out a scene,” he said.
Student Jayden Paredes performed his final project in the form of a poem. He said this program has brought students with different interests together.
“Before I learned about it I thought, ‘Oh, it’s just a musical, it’s alright’ but then once I discovered it was hip-hop-based and it was a very poetic type of thing, I was extremely interested in it,” Paredes said.
Monticello High School history teacher Lynda Boyle said her students had a unique opportunity to explore a part of history that has been thrown in the spotlight because of the popular musical.
“We jumped on it and worked hard to get the curriculum in place, and the kids had a tremendous learning experience,” Boyle said.
The 2,300 students will be attending Hamilton at the Eccles Theater on May 4 for $10. Twelve student finalists will also perform their piece on stage, and attend a question and answer session with the musical’s cast.
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