City and Colts Help Celebrate Fall Festival at Cardinal Ritter
INDIANAPOLIS – There was food, there was music and there were Colts Cheerleaders.
There were prizes and inflatables, too.
But most notably at Cardinal Ritter High School on a cool, clear October Saturday, there were students focused on improving their school and their community. Their presence – and that focus – was what mattered most, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said.
"It's imant," Ballard said after making a brief speech Saturday afternoon at the Cardinal Ritter Fall Festival, which kicked off Ritter's community service program, which is intertwined with the city's "Peace in the Streets" initiative.
"I really do believe the kids today are more engaged than we were growing up. We did some things here and there, but there are real movements out there amongst these kids and it's heartening to see. I'm very optimistic for the future."
The Colts and the City of Indianapolis on Saturday helped Ritter celebrate its Fall Festival from 11-2 p.m. Ballard spoke to the gathered crowd, as did Colts Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Tom Zupancic, former Colts offensive tackle Tarik Glenn and Ritter President John Lockard.
Fall Festival elements included:
• Colts Cheerleaders.
• The presence of Blue, the Colts' mascot.
• The Colts in Motion traveling museum.
• The Vince Lombardi Trophy for Super Bowl XLI.
• Colts Inflatables – Mountain Slide, Bounce House, Quarterback Challenge, Tiny and Crusher.
• Prizes and giveaways.
• The band, "Toy Factory."
• The Colts Pro Shop.
• Clarian Health Mobile Unit.
"It's in keeping with our Make it Personal theme," Zupancic said. "The mayor's office is concentrating on Peace in the Streets. These Ritter kids want to get out and do their service hours in the community. You can make a difference, but if you make a mile circle and put all of those hours into it, you're going to get a back and forth with the community. They're going to clean up this community.
"Once this works, it will be able to be replicated in other schools."
Lockard, like Ballard, spoke optimistically of the students' involvement in a program designed to make the community around Ritter a safer, more-peaceful area.
"They are committed to making Cardinal Ritter a center for peace and justice in the world, and not just this community – the state and all around," Lockard said. "We hope we can start something that carries through the whole country, everywhere. It's not pie in the sky. It's a real idea that can work. We want peace and justice.
"We're committed to serving the Westside of Indianapolis not just by staying here, but by reaching out to people in the neighborhood, making them feel safe and making them understand this is a great community to live in."
Said Ballard, "Ritter High School is one of those high schools that really cares about what's going on, and of course, the Colts are all over the city anyway. I'm glad we could partner with them and that they picked up on the Peace in the Streets initiative, which is very important to us.
"That's a movement around the city we want people to embrace. I'm happy that this area, this neighborhood, will fully embrace it because of Ritter High School and the Colts."