MCPS teacher Joanna Chilcoat-Fellows recently went viral due to her creative protest against the proposed budget cuts to arts funding. Chilcoat-Fellows teaches music and arts at Seneca Valley High School, and she expressed her opposition towards the budget cuts by rewriting the lyrics of “Alexander Hamilton,” a famous rap song from the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.” Although her clever rap was delivered before the MCPS Board of Education, it has now been seen by over 7,000 people.
Chilcoat-Fellows wanted to make a statement in a memorable way, which is why she turned to her favorite Broadway Show, “Hamilton, for inspiration. The popular Broadway Show has been praised not just for it’s great music, but for how it teaches teenagers about history without lecturing them in textbook/history class fashion. Some of Chilcoat-Fellows’s colleagues encouraged her to create the rap, and her students gave insight and suggestions to help perfect the perfect parody.
Some of the lyrics in the video are, “Our kids deserve the best because they’re in MCPS”, “In our own schools, there’s no one to collaborate”, and “There’s a million things that arts can do.”
Chilcoat-Fellows’s unique method of communicating her stance is important and hopefully goes beyond by just being a viral video and influences the decisions made about the budget cuts. Arts and music are an integral part of the MCPS education system, for they enable students to express themselves much like Chilcoat-Fellows did before the MCPS Board of Education.
The full video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=205&v=ZZDQZ3knDZg
Article by Moco Student staff writer Matthew Minton of Quince Orchard High School