APS News Release

H-B Woodlawn Student Earns Wesleyan’s 2019 Hamilton Prize for Creativity

Billy the PopH-B Woodlawn Secondary Program senior Cole Goco has been awarded Wesleyan University’s prestigious Hamilton Prize for Creativity. Goco is one of three students whose creative written works best reflect the originality, artistry, and dynamism of Hamilton: An American Musical, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 and directed by Thomas Kail ’99. Goco, who plans to attend Wesleyan, will receive a $5,000 stipend as part of the award.

Goco was given the award for his web comic strip, “Billy the Pop” which he began working on the summer before seventh grade. The strip stars a talking popsicle named Billy, his human friend Harley, and their pet turtle, Pete. For years, Goco maintained a strict schedule of posting a new strip every other day, and has amassed a large body of 700 comics. He has released two book volumes of Billy strips, available for sale on Amazon.

The winning works were chosen from a pool of over 400 submissions this year. Faculty members reviewed entries, while an all-star selection committee of Wesleyan alumni in the arts, chaired by Miranda and Kail, judged finalists. Actress Beanie Feldstein ’15, a member of the alumni selection committee, described “Billy the Pop” as “incredibly clever and sparkling” with “a strong visual style and voice.”

The Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity was established in 2016 in honor of Miranda and Kail’s contributions to liberal education and the arts and named for the pair’s hit Broadway musical, which that year won 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score. Over the past two years, more than a thousand students have submitted stories, poetry, songs, plays, and screenplays for consideration for the prize. Read about past winners here and here.