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More than 400 4th graders visited the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis to celebrate Indiana's Statehood Day on December 9, 2016.
2016's Statehood Day celebration looked a lot like those in years past: there was the choir singing "Back Home Again in Indiana," an actor playing President Benjamin Harrison, and a student reading her winning submission from the annual essay contest.
This time, it was Jillian Stemler of New Albany, for her entry "Bicentennial Travels."
“It was fun to celebrate Indiana’s birthday by traveling," Stemler says. "In the future, there might be a new state park to explore or maybe Indiana’s first female governor – me.”
This year’s celebration, the Bicentennial, was different, too. For one thing, the governor presiding over it, Mike Pence, is also the Vice President-elect.
“"And we will, in whatever time that we're given left do our best to continue to see Indiana as a crossroad. As the heart of the heartland, as that crossroads of America. But make no mistake about it, the next celebration belongs to you. And my word to you as your governor, is whatever dream is in your heart, reach for it. That's what Hoosiers have always done," said Pence.
And addressing the crowd of students from around the state, Pence implored them to study hard and reach for their dreams, promising them Indiana’s next milestone will belong to them.