San Diego

Local High School Students Take Their Shot on ‘Hamilton' Stage

The program involving local high school students is aimed at inspiring creative ways to study and learn history.

What to Know

  • "Hamilton" was first performed in January 2015 and opened on Broadway seven months later.
  • The musical was nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards in 2016.
  • Jan. 11 - the day of the event with local San Diego students - was Alexander Hamilton's birthday

Nearly 3,000 high school students from 46 schools throughout San Diego County just got their shot to see “Hamilton.”

Thursday’s matinee performance of the nearly sold-out show was the culmination of the Hamilton Education Program, or EduHAM.

The 6-week program focuses on the history of Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Era and is aimed at inspiring creative ways to study and learn history.

Students were required to create original songs, rap, poetry, scenes or monologues based on what they learned.

Then, each school selected one piece to submit to be performed during EduHAM. Out of the 46 schools, students from just 15 were selected to perform.

Patrick Henry High School U.S. History teacher Taunya Robinson said she has never seen her students so motivated.

“Just the chance of, the buy-in, of getting to see “Hamilton” live, it was all I needed. Every single student worked day in, day out on this project,” Robinson said.

Three students from Patrick Henry—Jonathan Marshall, Kayla Gunter and Tiffany Pham—were among those selected.

They performed their “Connecticut Compromise Rap” on the same stage at the San Diego Civic Theatre where the “Hamilton” cast performs each night.

Marshall said he got a little nervous while waiting in the wings.

“But then, I was like, we got chosen by this group to perform here, which is awesome, and they thought that we were good, so I’m just gonna go out there and have fun and not worry about anything,” Marshall said.

Several of the “Hamilton” cast members were at the EduHAM event to answer questions from the students, including Desmond Nunn, who covers six ensemble roles as a Male Swing.

Nunn said he was inspired by what he saw on the stage.

“I didn’t have an experience like this and I still found acting and performing. And to have this available to them, I think that we’re empowering the future of our country. I see future presidents, and vice presidents and secretaries of state. I see that in the audience,” Nunn said.

This was the largest EduHAM event in history. Rory O’Malley, who plays “King George” and emceed the event said, “after San Diego, everyone else is gonna have to step it up.”

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