On Jan. 16, 64 Barren County High School juniors and seniors were given the opportunity of a lifetime.
Through the Gilder Lehrman Institute, BCHS, along with 36 other schools from across Tennessee and Kentucky were selected to participate in the Gilder Lehrman Hamilton Education Program. The Hamilton Education Program allows students with a love for history to experience the retelling of the life of our founding fathers with a modern twist. Through this program, students were able to see Hamilton, a popular Broadway musical, at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center for only $10.
To attend this event, students were required to be involved in a history class, so Barren County students that were either in Mr. Gardner’s AP Government and Politics classes or Mr. Steenbergen’s AP US History class or had previously taken one of these classes were eligible to go.
After applying for the program, BCHS was only presented with 45 tickets.
“I was a little bit disappointed since I wanted all of my AP Gov students to go,” said Gardner. “A month later, I got another email saying there were extra tickets, so I requested 20 more tickets to make sure everyone could go.”
In order to attend, students were first required to create a project of their own. Students were given a list of historical people, places, and events that were relevant to the time period of the American Revolution. Students were allowed to create projects however they wanted to, as long as they were creative and relevant to the list.
“I thought [the projects were] definitely a unique aspect of the program. We see Hamilton as a creation as a whole, and we were given an opportunity to speak about different topics that we think are relevant and be creative at the same time,” said Chyrston Jones, senior.
Once the buses arrived at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, students started the day by watching fellow students perform their creative projects.
Cody Smith, BCHS junior, was even selected to showcase his project at TPAC. Smith wrote a monologue about Marquis de Lafayette, a French officer who fought and led troops in the American Revolution. Throughout his monologue, Smith told the story of Lafayette’s involvement in the war, and even included French throughout the performance.
“I love language and I felt like I could incorporate history into that,” said Smith. “ Instead of a song, I felt like a monologue was more suited to me personally and I could tie French into it more that way.”
Following the student performances, the cast of Hamilton came on stage to host a Q&A session. After the Q&A, everyone took a quick break for lunch then came back to TPAC to watch the performance of Hamilton.
“I had listened to the music of Hamilton, but until you see it, and the presentation with the music, it changes your thought process,” said Steenbergen. “Some of those performances and numbers were surprising on how they were presented, but it gives a lot of insight about history.”