For our blog over the next few days, we’re asking our three summer interns to reflect on their, “Week Without Walls” experience. WWW is a time all scholars of Shortridge High School leave the school to experience different educational activities and to help the scholars learn more about their community, explore career interests, learn new skills, engage in new physical activities, and develop or refine personal goals. For WWW 2016, our staff at Nine13 organized and administered an educational bicycle tour of Indianapolis with the Physical Education teachers of Shortridge. Here is what Michael Chettleburgh from Indiana University learned from his, “Week Without Walls” experience:
On Tuesday (5/24) and Thursday (5/26), I had the opportunity to ride along with students from Shortridge High School on bike tours of Indianapolis. Not being from Indianapolis, and it being my first week interning with Nine13sports, I was able to learn a lot about both the city of Indianapolis and Nine13sports as well. Starting out from Shortridge we headed southeast to take the Monon Trail into downtown. I quickly learned quite a bit about the train track origins of the Monon and the many reasons for creating it. First being bought by the city of Indianapolis to build a new sewer system and over time becoming the recreational and commuter trail it is today.
As we headed down to 10th street and the Mass Ave cultural district we had a few other stops to learn about the lengths at which the city has gone to beautify the city. At these locations the students were able to look at the artwork painted on the supports of underpasses and the sculptures alongside the trail. I had heard of Mass Ave, The Canal, and other cultural districts, but was unaware of the amount the city has gone to defining these districts and making them each unique. We rode through Mass Ave learning about the histories of the Coca-Cola bottling factory and the Real Silk factory.
Once we reached the Wholesale district downtown, we stopped at the City Market for lunch and to give the students a bit of rest from riding. The City Market building was especially interesting with it being well over 100 years old. Just like all the other monuments that we stopped at, the City Market had a long history and had been used for many different things over the years. Luckily we had good weather during lunch both days, but the second day we were hit with heavy rains right after lunch and had to head back to the school.
After lunch we continued downtown to see some of the more popular and historical monuments, such as monument circle, the USS Indianapolis Memorial, and numerous war memorials. These monuments and memorials spread from the Wholesale District through the Canal District and each had their own history. The students had a chance to walk around reading information and taking a closer look at the monuments. At Monument Circle I learned that the original reason for the circle was to have the governor live in the city center to be more connected with the city. Although this never happened, it created the chance for the city to build the historical monument that is there now.
One of the last stops before riding back north to Shortridge was at the Cultural Trail and Indiana Pacers Bikeshare headquarters. Here both the students and I both learned a lot about the city districts and the Cultural Trail and Monon that connect them. This gave the students a chance to see most of the places they rode that day, and the places they still had to ride in order to get back to the start. We got to see how the bikeshare program worked, seeing the way they move the bikes around to keep up with demand.
From here we headed back to Shortridge with the students after a lot of time spent riding. Overall, I learned much more than I had ever known before about Indianapolis and got to see it from the unique perspective of being on a bike.