66 THE QUEENS COURIER • BUZZ • JUNE 13, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Queens high school students shine on ‘Hamilton’ stage
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Th ey didn’t throw away their shot.
Th ree young, scrappy and hungry Far
Rockaway high school students got the
chance of a lifetime to perform an original
photo by Jenna Bagcal/
Lead QNS, body photos by Walter McBride
work at Manhattan’s Richard Rodgers
Th eatre, the home base of “Hamilton”
and the renowned Hamilton Education
On June 5, Queens High School for
Information, Research, and Technology
(QIRT) senior Ebube Nwaeme and
juniors Angelica Garcia and Christian
Gordon participated in the last “EduHam”
program of the 2018-2019 season along
with students from 12 other schools in
New York and the tri-state area.
Th e trio performed a rap and vocal
song based on the infamous duel between
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.
Nwaeme played the role of the narrator
while Garcia and Gordon took on the
roles of Hamilton and Burr, respectively.
EduHam, as the HEP program is aff ectionately
called, allows students at Title I
high schools to learn an integrated curriculum
about Alexander Hamilton and the
Th e Gilder Lehrman Institute provides
students and instructors with source
material that they use to create an original
song, rap, poetry, scene or monologue.
At the end of the school year, participating
students perform in front of 1,300 of
their peers, participate in a Q&A with the
show’s cast and also have the opportunity
to see a Hamilton matinee for $10 a ticket.
Th e group learned about the opportunity
when they saw a fl yer advertising the
program. Th e QIRT students, who call
themselves “144 Royalty,” worked with
their music teacher Mr. Rhodes and fellow
student Ivan Malcolm on the beat and lyrics
for their song “Th e Duel.”
“Mondays and Fridays aft er school,
we’re recording takes and all that. And
then later in the week when we got familiar
with the lyrics, we were all putting
in lines to the lyrics and all of that.
Th en later, we promoted to acting it out,”
He added that they would collectively
gauge and watch themselves perform in
preparation for the big day.
“We performed it at our school, so to
progress on to this is really unexpected.
We actually get to experience how it
is being a performer,” said Gordon, who
shared that the three of them want to
engage in some type of performance or
entertaining in the future.
“I never in a million years thought that
I would be here right now. Never,” Garcia
e educational program began in 2015
as a collaboration between Hamilton producer
Jeff rey Seller, creator Lin-Manuel
Miranda, the Gilder Lehrman Institute
of American History, the Rockefeller
Foundation and the NYC Department of
Sasha Rolon Pereira, associate director
of education and director of Hamilton
Project at Gilder Lehrman said that the
nonprofi t and all collaborators created the
project to mirror Miranda’s experience
creating the hit musical.
Th e program started in New York but
has since expanded to schools in Boston,
Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, D.C.,
Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, Minneapolis,
New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Tampa.
Pereira said that once the fi ve-year program
is complete in December 2020, the
program will have reached over 250,000
Title I students nationwide.
In order to gauge the eff ectiveness of the
program in each school, Gilder Lehrman
administers surveys to track the data.
Some of the data collected shows that most
of the students at these schools have never
been to a Broadway show and have also
not had access to arts programs in the past.
“We also ask them if they have found
that they’re more interested in American
history and we’ve seen really high marks
there, that the program actually makes
them interested in a subject that they
weren’t interested in before,” Pereira said.
She added that one of the biggest fi ndings
that they’ve gotten from the evaluations is
that seeing “Hamilton” and the work they
do leading up to it makes the students think
more critically about current events.
For Nwaeme, Garcia and Gordon from
Far Rockaway, the biggest success of the
program was being able to perform on a
Broadway stage where countless legends
have stood before them.
“Being on this stage right now is
mind-blowing because it’s one thing to
sit on the stands and then watch it and it’s
another thing to actually be on the stage
and perform it,” Nwaeme said.