The Monterey-based Dan & Lillian King Foundation recently announced that every eighth-grade student in the County — nearly 9,000 students — will attend “Hamilton,” the Tony Award-winning hit playing at the SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco.
The mission of the Dan and Lillian King Foundation, started in 2011, is to educate eighth-grade students in Monterey County on all aspects of the United States Constitution, its vision through the founding fathers and its impact on our society today.
The Dan & Lillian King Foundation — a 501 C (3) private foundation — receives no outside funding or donations.
“The focus of our foundation is simple and direct: the kids,” Executive Director of the King Foundation Stephen Collins said. “There are students in Monterey County, a very diverse community, that live near or on the ocean, and many more that have never even seen the ocean even though they live close by. Our criteria for inclusion in this program is simple: you must be an eighth-grader and you must live in Monterey County. That’s it.
“We’re attempting to do something that may well never have been done anywhere else — assure that every eighth-grader has a chance to learn about history and the Constitution through the magic of Hamilton. We are grateful to the Monterey County Office of Education for working with us to build a cohesive partnership and serve the needs of our County’s students. The excellent classroom curriculum created by the County Office of Education, before the students attend the performance, will prepare them to understand the importance of our constitutional history.”
Marc Del Piero was the visionary behind the concept, Collins said. He began communicating with Luis Miranda, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s father, in November of 2017.
“After a year and a half of effort our plan to advance the constitutional education of our Monterey County students is moving forward,” Del Piero said.
The county, which at 3,770 square miles, is approximately one-and-a-half times larger than the state of Delaware, includes the towns of Monterey and Carmel but also large swaths of rural landscapes and agricultural districts like Salinas, Gonzales, King City, Pajaro, San Ardo and Big Sur.
Monterey County eighth-graders will attend matinee performances of “Hamilton” in the fall. Additional performances, as needed, to accommodate the entire eighth-grade student population will occur in February of next year to insure no student is excluded due to bus or school districts limitations.