“Students Debate Founding Fathers,” By Elizabeth Nixon, OC Register:
Students got a rare opportunity to argue with the nation’s founding fathers Tuesday.
“Why won’t you let women vote or hold office?” one student demanded.
“I think the idea of women holding office is a bad idea,” Thomas Jefferson exclaimed.
Two actors portraying Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton debated liberty, freedom and the principles that shaped the nation for a room of about 500 eighth-grade students at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum.
The pair, Ian Rose and Steven Edenbo, wore period costume and spoke in transatlantic accents while performing on a stage decorated with a row of American flags. They interacted with the students, taking volunteers up to the stage to perform roles of notable figures such as William Patterson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.
“I liked that they had very realistic arguments,” said Yorba Linda Middle School student Lauren Hansen. “I learned that Thomas Jefferson grew up with slavery, and because his parents taught him about it, he was a slave owner.”
Four performances on Tuesday and Wednesday reached a total audience of 2,000 eighth graders from the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.
The event was sponsored by the Nixon Library, the Nixon Foundation, Yorba Linda Unified School district and FIRST (Fullerton International Resources for Schools and Teachers) of Cal State Fullerton.
Photo and caption courtesy of OC Register Jessenna Dodge, 13, center, of Yorba Linda Middle School, played James Madison, on stage with Ian Rose as Alexander Hamilton, left, and Steve Edenbo as Thomas Jefferson, right, at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Tuesday morning during a program to eighth grade students.