Provided by City of Manassas Public Schools
On March 14, fifteen U.S. History students from Osbourn High School were invited to the White House for First Lady Michelle Obama’s exclusive student workshop featuring the cast of Broadway’s ‘Hamilton.’The division’s high school was one of only three schools in the greater D.C. area selected to attend the event, where students had the opportunity to meet, interact with and perform for the cast, as well as President and First Lady Obama and Vice President Biden.’
OHS student Ana Silva described the event as the best day of her life. “The cast was so welcoming and kind to all of us, it made us all feel like a little family,” she said.
Hamilton, an extremely popular Broadway show, uses modern music genres and Broadway theatrics to tell the story of historical American figure Alexander Hamilton. The White House program was designed especially for students by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Hamilton producer and actor Lin-Manual Miranda, who helped create the show by using historical documents. The students, under the guidance of Osbourn AP U.S. History teacher and Social Studies Department Chair Carrol Woodbeck, were tasked with creating their own Hamilton-inspired special projects based on historic documents and primary sources to perform for the White House. “It was beyond exciting,” said Woodbeck. “Instead of being token high schoolers, we were the event.”
The Students had approximately two weeks to prepare for the workshop performance due to the exclusivity of the event. “I am especially proud of Ms. Woodbeck’s efforts to help students discover primary source material for their presentation,” said Osbourn Principal Cathy Benner. “In the middle of a busy AP season, she prioritized this opportunity. Osbourn is fortunate to have teachers of her caliber.”
The students were recognized at the March 29 School Board meeting, where a sampling of their White House performance was met with a standing ovation from board members and a packed audience.
“Going to the White House and meeting so many amazing people and getting to shake hands with the President and the First Lady was a once in a life time experience,” said student Emily Williams. “I’m so thankful for being a part of it.”