48 Onaway students will travel to Chicago to see ‘Hamilton’

ONAWAY — Some Onaway students had an emotional reaction when they found out they were chosen to travel to Chicago for a trip, including the opportunity to see Hamilton: An American Musical.

The trip is one component of a Gilder Lehrman Institute’s Hamilton Education Program.

“I have students that actually broke into tears because they were so excited. I have some that aren’t familiar with the show so they don’t know what to expect. Even those students are excited for the trip to Chicago. Quite a few of them have been never to Chicago before,” said Onaway teacher Kymberli Wregglesworth.

The trip is in conjunction with an exhibition by Gilder Lehrman which focuses on Alexander Hamilton and other founding history.

The institute promotes the study and love of American history among students, scholars, and the general public and is based in New York, she said in a statement.

“We always start the year about the founding era. The Federalist Papers is what we look into. Hamilton was an author of those. So we’re looking at the whole founding era,” she said.

Students used information from Gilder Lehrman for their projects.

“The students had to use that information to research a person, document or event (around the Founding Era) and create raps, play scenes, monologues, poems. Some of them were really unbelieveable. I was really impressed on the creativity that came through,” she said.

The 48 students will travel to Chicago on Dec. 13 for the 29-hour trip. They leave early for Chicago, will have lunch, a morning educational and discussion session with members of the Hamilton cast and crew, and attendance at a matinee performance of Hamilton: An American Musical, followed by dinner and the drive home.

Wregglesworth said to help cover the cost of the charter bus used for the trip the students have fundraised and Wregglesworth has applied for grants.

“Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles have donated. We ran a drive on Donors Choose which is like Go Fund Me for schools. Then we have a couple of grants pending. We got one grant from Onaway School Alumini Association and one through the Northeast Michigan Youth Advisory Council and Meemic Insurance. I’ve had a few kids do bottle drives,” she said.

As a teacher Wregglesworth said she was inspired by her students’ passion for the project.

“That is one of the things you strive to get them to do, to get passionate about what they’re learning about; even if it’s a small part of it, if it lights the fire inside of them. There was something in it for every student,” she said.

Some of the students also surprised her.

“The creativity, it seemed to come out from students you didn’t expect it from. They’re not your typical student to achieve academically. But this project gave them a different route to show success that they don’t normally get to do in classroom,” she said.

The traveling exhibition “Alexander Hamilton: Immigrant, Patriot, Visionary” will be on display from Monday until Dec. 8 at Onaway High School.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.