Grand Marshal for 2016 Noblesville July 4th Festivities Announced
Posted on Apr 27th, 2016
Mayor John Ditslear has announced that Noblesville resident and longtime educator Bruce Hitchcock will serve as the grand marshal for the 2016 Noblesville Fourth of July Parade.
“For 42 years, Bruce sculpted the minds of Noblesville Schools’ students and instilled a passion for American history, government and politics. Inside his classroom, Bruce’s former students always comment on the way he prepared them for college through reading, writing, problem solving, discussion and debate,” Ditslear said. “It seems a perfect fit to have Bruce lead our city’s Fourth of July festivities as we honor the state’s bicentennial.”
Hitchcock moved to Noblesville in the fall of 1969 when he accepted a teaching and coaching position and has remained a Noblesville resident ever since.
“I was quite surprised with Mayor Ditslear’s phone call and very honored having been selected,” he said. “Also, it is significant to have the selection be someone from our educational community. Hopefully, I am a worthy representative. As a former history and government teacher, it is certainly special that 2016 is Indiana's bicentennial. That is meaningful.”
Hitchcock graduated from Ball State University in 1969 and earned his masters degree from there in 1976. He began teaching United States history and geography at Noblesville Junior High School in 1969. For the first 10 years of his employment, Hitchcock also served as athletic director and coached football, basketball, baseball, golf and track.
“People in Noblesville have always been very friendly, supportive and cooperative. It’s been a very comfortable place to live and I feel very fortunate to have been able to enjoy my entire career here with one school system,” he said. “Even though Noblesville has experienced tremendous growth since arriving in 1969, I continue to enjoy the small town atmosphere and the conveniences Noblesville offers. I never have to travel far for whatever I need.”
In 1979, Hitchcock transferred to the high school where he taught U.S. History, government, international relations and urban problems and solutions. He also introduced dual-credit courses offerings with Advanced Placement and Advance College Project providing students opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school. In 1981, Hitchcock escorted his first students to Washington, D.C. – a first-hand history and political experience that he continued for 29 years.
“I have actually lost count of the exact number, but it was more than 60 trips with more than 500 students participating,” he said. “It began as the result of a flyer I received in the school mail from a program called Washington Workshops Congressional Seminar. I had not been to D.C., three students agreed to go, and off we went.”
Hitchcock indicated the first 15 trips were with Washington Workshops until he felt comfortable in providing other opportunities for students and learning how to maneuver in and around D.C.
“We organized our trips and Noblesville Schools was very generous in providing a vehicle and paying for the fuel. So, there were no transportation costs for students,” he said. “We were able to connect with Congressman Dan Burton’s office in providing brief internship opportunities and with the JFK Assassination Records Review Board for the five years of the board’s existence.”
During the summer, Hitchcock would make as many as five week-long trips to the nation’s capital with juniors, seniors and chaperones.
“It was a lot of driving, but honestly is was one of the best things I did throughout my teacher career,” he said. “The trips were so rewarding for me and, hopefully, for the students as well. It was so encouraging observing students become so interested and excited with who they were meeting, what they were doing, and what there were seeing. It is much better to be there than reading or talking about it or watching a documentary on TV. We were able to do so many things – from the West Wing, to the floors of the House and Senate, to behind-the-scenes experiences at the Supreme Court. We were so fortunate in what we were able to do.”
With his passion for history, politics, and teaching, Hitchcock has always found as one of the most interesting things concerning the 4th of July, is a quote from a letter written on July 3, 1776, from John Adams to his wife, Abigail: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with slews (shows), games, sports, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”
This year’s festivities will take place on Monday, July 4. The fun begins at 5 p.m. with the parade followed by the fireworks festival from 6 to 10 p.m. At approximately 10 p.m., the annual fireworks display will begin. The festival is free of charge and will offer activities for kids, teens and adults, live music, food vendors and more.
More information about the upcoming Fourth of July festivities will be announced soon. For more information about sponsoring or donating to the activities, contact Alaina Shonkwiler at 776-6345 or visitwww.noblesvillefireworksfestival.com.