Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beyond Hoosier Pride

If you are an Indiana basketball fan then you are familiar with the “This is Indiana” video created by Hoosier alumni Brice Fox and Daniel Weber:

It went from being a viral YouTube sensation to now being a part of the Hoosier home game routine as the video is played on the big screen in Assembly Hall as halftime comes to a close.  In a 2011 interview with Bloomington’s Herald Times, not even Fox and Weber could have predicted the success the video would have in such a short period of time.  Now fast forward two years.  Would you believe me if I told you that the video has become bigger than any basketball team or University?  I think Kathryn Sullivan’s third grade class at Cold Spring Environmental Magnet School in Indianapolis would.  As you will find out, this generation’s Hoosier anthem has become next generation’s inspiration.

Part of the third grade curriculum within the Indianapolis Public School system is college preparation and readiness.  As an alumnus of Indiana University, Ms. Sullivan decided to use her alma mater as a learning tool for her students.  According to Ms. Sullivan, it was encouraged to teach the students as much about her chosen school as possible.  Outside of the advantages of attending college, the students learned the school song, cheers, what campus life was like, the types of degrees that could be earned at IU among other things.  When discussing Indiana athletics, Ms. Sullivan decided to introduce her class to “This is Indiana.”  It was an instant hit.  I will let the following video show you just how big of a hit it was:

[Disclaimer:  Still awaiting proper approvals to show video as it is footage from within the school.  The video shows the students heads down studying listening to the song and as soon as the phrase "This is I-U-U-U" comes on, every student makes the motion with their hands.]

The song is played multiple times a day while her students are studying or taking tests.  Ms. Sullivan has said that this song has helped her drive home the importance of attending college.  In the four months she has been teaching college preparation and readiness, she has seen improvement in many of their grades, as well as, their eagerness to learn increase.  “All of my students want to go to college now.  They all come into my classroom each day with the drive and dream of one day taking that step.”

It is that improvement that gave Ms. Sullivan the idea of taking things one step further.  As part of a third grade project entitled “College Bound,” she decided to recreate the “This is Indiana” video with the hopes that it could lead to a campus visit for the students. 

To help her with this vision, Ms. Sullivan needed someone with experience in creating videos.  Mika Brown, a freelance camera operator that has helped broadcast live sports for networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports, was approached and accepted the task.   Brown's initial reaction to the idea, "Wow, what a great opportunity to not only support IU Basketball, but more importantly help make a difference in these kids lives."  For one week, with their parents permission, the students stayed after school for a total of four hours to create a spoof of a video they have grown to love.  On her part with the project, Brown notes, "I really enjoyed playing a small role in this project.  [Ms. Sullivan] had a vision and really made it come to life.  I'm excited for other's to see it."

I am extremely honored to be a part of the debut of this video to Hoosier Nation and the rest of the blogosphere.  Ms. Sullivan not only has these students one step closer to a campus visit that otherwise wouldn’t have happened, she has them enthused about the prospects of attending college.  “'This is Indiana' helped create the excitement for college that turned a one month requirement into a yearlong project.  They now understand why they come to school every day and have a goal that they can continually work towards.”

Ladies and gentleman, non-Hoosiers and Hoosiers alike, I present to you:

"This is Indiana" - Cold Spring Environmental Magnet 3rd Graders from mika brown on Vimeo.
Thank you to Mika Brown for taking the time to answer some questions, as well as, for her part in this story. To view other videos that Mika Brown has created, you can access her Vimeo page here.  You can also follow her on Instagram @MikaMakenzie.
Additionally, I'd like to extend a special thanks to Kathryn Sullivan for allowing me to share this wonderful story.  She found a unique way to inspire her students and in turn created an environment that fosters setting and achieving goals, as evidenced by this video.  Fantastic job sis, very proud of you!!

UPDATE (02/01/2013 4:24 PM):  For those wishing to donate money to help make the campus visit possible for Ms. Sullivan's 3rd grade class, you can mail checks to the following address:

Cold Spring Environmental Magnet School
Attn: Kathryn Sullivan
3650 Cold Spring Road
Indianapolis, IN 46222

Please make checks payable to "Cold Spring School."


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great story! Is there a link or website for making donations so the class can take a trip down to Bloomington for a visit?

  3. This is absolutely WONDERFUL!

  4. Thank you, Sully, for sharing this video and the story behind it. We can be proud of Ms. Sullivan for this creative way to get kids thinking about college. Go Cold Spring!