By Margaret-Anne Coppernoll, Ph.D., Dan and Lillian King Foundation Board Director
I would like to commend Johanna Miller for the outstanding commentary she wrote in the Oct. 15 edition of the Pajaronian on the Pajaro Middle School field trip for eighth-graders to attend “Hamilton, an American Musical” at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco. The article Ms. Miller composed was exceptionally well-written, comprehensive, entertaining and informative. It included not only important information concerning this educational experience, but also captured the wonderful stories of the students who attended.
It was such a joy for the Dan and Lillian King Foundation to support this event for all our Monterey County eighth-grade students. The foundation’s mission is patriotic and academic in nature, that is, to educate eighth-grade students on the Constitution of the United States of America. To accomplish this endeavor through a combination of American history lessons, theatrical experiences that include drama, dance, song, poetry and production elements seemed the perfect synergistic way to obtain a wholistic creative education along with classroom learning and workshops. What a wonderful way to teach critical thinking skills and proper theater etiquette!
Many theater-goers marveled at the impeccable manners and respectful demeanor these young scholars displayed before and during the performances. It seems the Dan and Lillian King Foundation has been the recipient of an even greater gift than the one it has given: the eighth-graders themselves! The greatest gift of all has been the participation of all our Monterey County eighth-graders. Their outpouring of gratitude through impressive, deeply touching letters brings tears to the eyes and gladness to our hearts.
These young scholars are the future of our democracy. It is a high honor, and special privilege, to provide this great educational opportunity for them. We know they will not only learn from it, but they will incorporate it into their lives and future patriotic support for our country. We could not accomplish this once in a lifetime experience without the collaboration and cooperation of the Monterey County Office of Education and their fabulous teachers and administration, but also the superb support from Discovery Charters President, Rich Dora.
Dan and Lillian King Foundation Executive Director, Steve Collins, and Board Director, Marc del Piero, were key creative thinkers and doers in accomplishing this unusual, unprecedented enterprise. Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s inspiration stems from the recognition of his eighth-grade English teacher. Encouraged by this teacher, Miranda continued to develop his passion and special gifts that today so many benefit from and enjoy. That is one of the reasons the Dan and Lillian King Foundation commitment to educating eighth-grade scholars is so special to Miranda. He and his father Luis Miranda could not do enough to support our eighth-graders too.
Dan and Lillian King are exemplary role models for legacy giving. Board Chair Nader Agha’s generosity in donating this fortune, that the widowed Lillian King had left to him, by establishing the non-profit Dan and Lillian King Foundation, is yet another example of true patriotism and dedication to the future of America through education. As founding father and U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson, advised, an educated people is the perfect defense against tyranny.
Ms. Johanna Miller created a beautiful story around this exceptional opportunity. She is a gifted journalist with a very bright future.