Durham teacher uses 'Hamilton' to teach history

Posted November 1, 2018 9:06 a.m. EDT
Updated November 8, 2018 3:42 p.m. EST

Joseph Morales and Nik Walker will lead the second national tour of Hamilton as Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, respectively. ((Photo by Joan Marcus)

— A local teacher is using the musical hit "Hamilton" to teach his students history.

The show opens Nov. 6 at DPAC, but a group of Durham high school students will get to see it in a special presentation Thursday in Charlotte.

His exciting teaching style makes Alex Christman's American history class anything but boring.

"I've been a huge fan of the musical from the beginning," said Christman. "I'm actually named after Alexander Hamilton, so I've been a fan all my life."

His students have had quite the reaction.

"History is not my strong suit, and with Hamilton and with the teacher that I have, the way things are being taught to me, it's easy to understand," said Emani Eaglin, a senior at Hillside High School.

"I think it's a better form of learning than just sitting around reading books," said Daniella Ochman.

"Whenever someone is able to emulate real life into art, I just think that's the coolest thing in the world," said Jalen McKoy.

Christman is an 11-year veteran in the classroom and a Navy veteran. He believes a trip to see the musical will teach students about more than a single statesman.

"Anything that will help spark the student's artist I will embrace," he said. "If I could give one message to the people in Durham, I would say you don't realize how fortunate this country is to have these kids that we have. They're amazing, and I'm blessed every day I get to teach them."

Hillside is one of two Durham Schools going to the performance.