The anticipation that preceded Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda was palpable and perhaps best evidenced last week by Head of School Dan Scheibe's own in-assembly freestyle beats meant to preview the artist's arrival.
But as excited as Lawrence Academy was to receive the talented musician, playwright, and actor, Miranda himself was thrilled to be back in front of students.
"What's fun about teaching as opposed to performing is that it's really the inverse," he said. "If you're doing your job as a teacher, you're not actually talking a lot.
"You're trying to get the ideas from the kids themselves and you're keeping the ball in the air so that they can keep passing it around."
That's an appropriate philosophy, as it certainly fits into LA's student-centered approach, but also because many of LA's academic departments had Miranda pass through their classes.
"These kids are so engaged," said Miranda, whose new play, Hamilton, debuts in January. "They're not afraid to ask tough questions and it's been really fun engaging with them the past two days."
Likewise, Miranda was impressed with LA's campus, faculty, and facilities.
"This is my first time at any kind of school at this level and it's been really kind of incredible," he said. "It's been a lot of fun, and it feels more like college than high school."
As Miranda expressed his enthusiasm about being on campus and sharing his experience and expertise, no doubt it was music to Mr. Scheibe's ears. The purpose of the J. William Mees Visiting Scholar Program, which made the artist’s visit possible, is to bring professionals to campus to give Lawrence Academy students first-hand opportunities to learn what they do and how they are successful in their fields.
"It takes a person of some substance and some brilliance to do that—and an ability to reach out," explained Scheibe. "That's what we've gotten. That's what the community appreciates. And, really, that's what this whole thing was set up to do.
"But we have exceeded expectations, I think, with this one, because what we most dream about is pure inspiration."
To learn more about Lin-Manuel Miranda visit www.LinManuel.com.