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This teacher's been trying to get 'Hamilton' tickets for years. Then his students stepped up.

Even Lin-Manuel Miranda got a little choked up over it.

This teacher's been trying to get 'Hamilton' tickets for years. Then his students stepped up.

If you've been living anywhere but under a rock with no TV or internet access for the past several years (if that's you: hello! Welcome to the internet!), then you know that "Hamilton," a diversely-cast musical about the founding fathers and all the dueling they did, is a pop culture sensation the likes of which you only experience once or twice a generation.

And that means everyone wants to see it. But until they turn this thing into a movie — soon, right? — tickets are hard to come by and expensive when they're available. If you want to be in the room where it happens, you're either going to have to shell out a lot of dough or win the lottery. Literally. The show offers a limited number of $10 tickets through a daily raffle.


Of course, some people can spend years trying to get show tickets. That was the case for Thomas Corby, a beloved history teacher at New Egypt High School in New Jersey. He'd been trying to get tickets to the show for years with no luck. Then his students stepped in.

As a way to say thank you to Mr. Corby for the impact he's had on them, his students pooled their money together to buy him tickets for the show. I'd call his reaction priceless, but it's actually probably 100% commensurate with how much these tickets cost.

I saw "Hamilton" a few years ago and when I was purchasing my program, the cashier asked me which part I "cried most during," instead of saying "hello." That's just the way this show affects people. Not expecting to answer such a loaded question after a three-hour musical spectacle, I muttered something and scuttled away before I could be interrogated further. Mr. Corby? I'm guessing he's going to have about an hour's worth of material to get through at the merch stand.

Even the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda got a little choked up over it:


While the story is wonderful just because we all love seeing people be kind to each other, it's also an important reminder — even though it's summer — that good teachers can transform the worlds of the kids they're working with. And therefore it's important we protect them, their rights, and their ability to earn a living wage at all costs. OTHERWISE WHERE ARE WE GOING TO GET SUCH ADORABLE VIDEOS? (And also access to all the knowledge and wisdom they possess.)

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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