Many people gather in Indianapolis during the week of Circle City Classic activities to enjoy concerts, the praise service, athletic and college workshops and of course, the weekend parade and game.
Behind all the fun and glamour, however, is a critical goal that Circle City Classic has never lost sight of: Providing scholarships to help college students and funds to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
When participants buy tickets to the game, parade and other activities, they are not just meeting expenses for an event; they are actually contributing to funds that will be used to help finance the higher education of future leaders.
“We are very grateful to be in a position to be a part of the financial structure for students to continue their education beyond high school,” said Vernon Williams, a spokesman for Circle City Classic.
Williams said that last year, Indiana Black Expo (IBE), which oversees both an annual Summer Celebration and the Circle City Classic, gave away more than $165,000 in scholarships, the highest amount ever.
This year, so far, more than $196,000 has already been raised for education. That number was able to be reached without increasing ticket prices for IBE and Circle City Classic events, although the costs of putting them on are higher.
“That’s a considerable amount of money during economic times when a lot of students are having trouble getting together enough money to begin their college experience,” Williams said.
While it is commonly known that Circle City Classic provides funds for education, many people are not aware of how those funds are spent.
“Of course, some of the funds benefit HBCUs directly,” Williams said. “Others go to students throughout the state of Indiana, who every year benefit from IBE and Classic scholarships.”
Students must be enrolled in a college or university to receive Classic scholarship grants. They are not given directly to students, but to the institutions that they attend once enrollment is verified.
While funding is key to helping students get in and stay in college, Circle City Classic also offers students and all youth non-financial benefits.
“They need to become accustomed to coming not just for the activities, but also to see other young people who are just a little older than them that they can relate to, instead of people in gangster rap videos,” Williams said. “They can receive some inspiration when they see these students who come home for the weekend looking all distinguished and yet cool in their college, university, fraternity or sorority attire. It gives young people a positive image of what they should go for after high school.”
For more information about Circle City Classic programs and initiatives, visit Circlecityclassic.com.