Meet the man hip-hop stars and history teachers can't get enough of.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is young, scrappy, and performing at the Grammys.

1. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius. Seriously. He has the award to prove it.

Miranda was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2015, an award that's commonly referred to as the "Genius Grant." For his creativity, talent, and potential, Miranda (and each of the 23 other greats) receive a $625,000 fellowship, paid out over the next five years.


Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for AWXII.

2. Not only is he a genius, but he's a freakin' freestyle mastermind.

Miranda is a lifelong hip-hop fan, which explains the Mobb Deep, DMX, and Biggie references peppered throughout "Hamilton."

But did you know he's also a member of a hip-hop improv group called Freestyle Love Supreme? The troupe has performed at comedy festivals and a handful of colleges around the country.

3. Before he wrote "Hamilton," he worked on "Bring It On: The Musical." How he remains so humble is beyond me.

True story.

In 2012, Miranda co-wrote the lyrics for "Bring It On: The Musical." Let me know if that little nugget helps you win trivia someday.

Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images.

4. In 2013, Miranda appeared on one of the lowest-rated TV shows of all time. Seriously. ALL TIME.

It was a very short-lived NBC drama called "Do No Harm," which holds the infamous distinction of being the lowest-rated in-season broadcast scripted series debut since 1987 and the least watched drama premiere, at least on the big four broadcast networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox).

Needless to say, the man knows defeat, which probably makes his recent victories that much sweeter.

Miranda, third from left, with the cast of "Do No Harm." Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

5. In between those projects, Miranda found time to write some award-winning, mind-melting songs for Neil Patrick Harris.

Remember the 2013 Tony Awards where Neil Patrick Harris closed the show with a mind-blowing song and dance number that accurately referenced events that transpired during the awards ceremony? Events that couldn't have been predicted or planned for? Harris has Miranda to thank for working behind the scenes throughout the broadcast to frantically write the song as the show aired. See what I mean about improvisational mastermind?

Miranda's efforts paid off — he won a Creative Arts Emmy for co-writing the hilarious opening song and impressive closing number for Harris.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

6. He also found a minute (or several thousand minutes) to write "Hamilton," a process which began as most musicals do, while he was on vacation.

In 2008, Miranda picked up a copy of Ron Chernow's 832-page Hamilton biography to read on vacation (as one does), and after reading the book, he fell in love with Hamilton's life and story. In Hamilton, he saw glimpses of his father ... and Tupac Shakur.

The biography was the story of an immigrant with serious command of rhetoric who made something from nothing, yet most people barely recognize him from the 10-dollar bill.

Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

Miranda started working on a possible concept album straightaway, and just a few months later, he actually performed a song for President Obama and the first lady when he was invited by the White House to join the slate of performers putting on a show about the "American experience."

Many years and countless hours later, the mixtape was set aside, but a musical was born.

"Hamilton" is a huge success. Thanks, Obama. Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

7. Tickets to "Hamilton" are really, really hard to get — with one fantastic exception.

Given its historical subject matter, Miranda was frequently asked how to make "Hamilton" accessible to more young people. So he made it a priority. Now, the show's producers, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, have agreed to finance a program to bring 11th graders from New York City schools (particularly those with a high number of kids living in poverty) to see "Hamilton." Not just students from one school, or even 10. We're talking 20,000 high-school juniors over the course of a year.

“If we can excite curiosity in students, there’s no telling what can happen next,” Miranda said while announcing the program.

Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images.

8. As if the spectacular success of "Hamilton" wasn't enough, Miranda also wrote music for "Star Wars" and is starting work on a Disney film.

Fresh off writing the cantina music for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Miranda is hard at work on the music for "Moana," an upcoming animated feature from Disney. He was recently in the recording booth with one of the film's star's, Dwayne "The Rock"Johnson.

Lin Manuel Miranda is Broadway's King - bad ass and an honor for me to sing and rap the music he's created for our movie. Creator and star of HAMILTON and IN THE HEIGHTS - as a composer and lyricist it's been an unreal "Master Class" for me to witness and learn. I'm just trying to keep up 😂. I have a feeling our animated musical is gonna be insanely dope. #Disney #MOANA #DontSleepOnMySpitSkills #NOV2016
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on

9. Then, for good measure, he performed at the Grammys AND WON.

Miranda and his multitalented cast performed at the Grammys live via satellite from the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. In the show's 58-year history, this was only the eighth time it included a musical theater number and the fourth time it featured a number presented live via satellite. Shortly after, they took home the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.

GIF via "The Grammys."

10. Because if you're Lin-Manuel Miranda, you know just how powerful art can be.

And you can't stop (won't stop) sharing it with everyone you can.

So, if you're not already, get wise to Lin-Manuel Miranda.

When all seemed lost, he managed to make history, long hair on dudes, and musical theater cool again. That's no small feat. Here's to you, sir.

OK, he really says, "Alexander Hamilton," but you get it right? GIF via "The Grammys."

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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