This article was contributed by south county resident Shari Schmidt and posted by BenitoLink.
All seven eighth graders from Bitterwater/Tully School were able to learn about American history in a unique setting. The generosity of the Dan and Lillian King Foundation allowed all eighth graders in Monterey County to attend the hit stage play “Hamilton.” The foundation sponsors the Constitution Project, whose goals are to support education programs and activities related to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The program emphasis is on the principles of freedom, liberty and justice. The program is administered by the Monterey County of Education.
Although Bitterwater/Tully School is in San Benito County, some of the eighth graders live in Monterey County. So teacher Susan Nino approached the MCOE and her students were included.
Local community volunteer Gail Ivens helped prepare the students for this field trip. They studied the Constitution, Federalist Papers and some of the key figures in this part of history.
Along with Ivens, Mrs. Nino and the seven students, several parents went along as chaperones. They traveled with students from Chalone Peak Middle School in King City. The chartered busses took them to the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco. They also had a photo op outside San Francisco’s City Hall.
A reporter from CBS News interviewed two of the students on camera. They enthusiastically told him “’Hamilton’ is great!”
After returning to Bitterwater, Ivens returned to the classroom for a “wrap up.” Each student was assigned to report on one of the key historical figures. They talked about the push and pull between federalists and anti-federalists, especially George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. They have a better understanding of how our Constitution was formed. They also understand that although they were adversaries at the time, history has smoothed over their fighting and made all of them heroes.