INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Mike Pence and First Lady Karen Pence today welcomed more than 500 Hoosier fourth grade students to the Statehouse to kick off Indiana’s bicentennial celebration. The Governor proclaimed the day Statehood Day, to mark the 199th anniversary of Indiana becoming the nineteenth state in the Union.
“The First Lady and I were pleased to welcome fourth graders to the Statehouse today to reflect on the remarkable progress Hoosiers have charted over our 199 years of history,” said Governor Pence. “In commemorating this special birthday, we usher in a historic, year-long bicentennial celebration of the enduring Hoosier spirit and the future that lies before us.”
During the day’s festivities, Governor Pence and Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann unveiled the Bicentennial Relay torch, the signature piece of the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay. The torch was designed by engineering faculty and students at Purdue University. Beginning in September of next year, Hoosiers will symbolically “pass the torch,”, touching each of Indiana’s 92 counties along a 2,300 mile journey across the state.
Governor Pence read a Statehood Day proclamation and named Jenna Grubb from New Britton Elementary in Fishers, Indiana the first place winner of the annual Statehood Day essay contest. Her essay can be read in full here.
Students had the opportunity to visit the Governor’s booth to depict what they would try to accomplish if they were governor. They were also able to learn some interesting facts about Indiana through an interactive display that showcased what the state has to offer. Fourth graders who visited the First Lady’s booth were greeted by Pence family pets Marlon Bundo, a rabbit, and Saphira, a snake.