Attendance Coordinator Yuwanis Williams partnered with the Community Alliance of the East Side to secure a group of tickets to the Circle City Classic, which is an annual event bringing together two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for a football game. The event has brought a weekend’s worth of celebration and fun to Indianapolis for 39 years.
About 35 scholars took advantage of the opportunity to see Mississippi Valley State take on North Carolina Central at Lucas Oil Stadium. Scholars earned a ticket with nearly spotless attendance and behavior records.
Williams said she had been to the Circle City Classic in the past as an Indianapolis resident and she appreciates that the game brings in cultures from those HBCUs to the city.
“It lets us residents experience something we might not have had a chance to experience,” Williams said. “I did not attend an HBCU but being able to have these experiences at least gives me a little taste of that. I just wanted to make sure that our students get as many experiences as they possibly can.”
The experience was a unique opportunity for scholars to see what their future could hold. Indiana is not home to any HBCUs, so seeing two HBCU schools represented showed what the college experience could be like for scholars in a diverse community.
Williams said scholars noticed the diversity with predominantly Black and Hispanic faces on the field. They were excited to imagine themselves in the shoes of those players, cheerleaders, and even each school’s band, which took center stage at halftime.
The bands from each college bring in a big piece of the culture. Every year, the Circle City Classic holds a Battle of the Bands for each of the participating colleges. Both bands perform their shows for the crowd and a winner is crowned after the game.
Williams said she thought it was a learning opportunity for students that incentives may come even when you don’t think they will.
“You're not necessarily going to always have something tangible handed to you,” Williams said. “But when opportunities do come about, you are positioned to be able to earn those opportunities.”
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Andrew J. Brown Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.