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The Hobart Shakespeareans

Teacher Rafe Esquith has a point of view — a very strong one — about educating children of immigrants. Teaching in Los Angeles at one of the nation's largest inner-city grade schools, Hobart Elementary, Esquith leads his class of fifth graders through an uncompromising curriculum of English, mathematics, geography and literature. He inspires them with cross-country trips to learn history first-hand. And at the end of the semester, every student performs in a full-length Shakespeare play: in this case Hamlet, with advice from actors Ian McKellen and Michael York. Despite language barriers and poverty, these Hobart Shakespeareans move on to attend outstanding colleges, motivated by a teacher honored with a National Medal of Arts.


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