"A group of college students arrived in Indianapolis last week as they cycle 4,000 miles from Seattle to Washington, D.C., raising funds and awareness on behalf of people with disabilities.

The team of 23 Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity members arrived at Marian College on Thursday, July 26 after a 55-mile ride from Bloomington, Ind.

Indiana State University student Ezra McCalmet of Camby is making the journey for the second consecutive summer with the group. Though he’d never ridden for anything other than fun prior to last summer, McCalmet now finds himself hooked.

“It’s the most physically and mentally challenging sport I know of — and the most rewarding,” McCalmet believes.

On this trip, part of the reward for the cyclists is the opportunity to meet and interact with many of the staff, students and residents of the very programs they are raising money for.

During their two-day stay at Marian, the group visited the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana and Noble of Indiana.

McCalmet believes the teamwork cycling relies upon is consistent with the message and mission of these organizations: “In cycling, and in the work that groups like [Noble of Indiana] are doing, it’s not about the individual finish or individual success. It’s about making sure the whole team crosses the finish line and each of us doing whatever we can to make that happen.”

Dean Peterson, coach of the 2006 national champion track cycling team at Marian, welcomed the cyclists, many of whom knew the coach from when he rode part of the journey with them last year and from training sessions earlier this year.

Peterson, who also competes in the NUVO-Cultural Trail Cycling series (see separate story on this page), believes the Journey of Hope underscores Marian’s history and recent partnerships in training teachers in Special Education.

“Marian has a long history of working with students with special needs and preparing future teachers to do the same,” Peterson says. “The School of Education, under the direction of Dr. Lindan Hill, recently entered a partnership with [Indianapolis Public Schools] via the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows. Many of the students/teachers selected to be part of this program will be working in special needs areas.”

For more on Push America and the Journey of Hope, go to www.pushamerica.org. For more on Marian College teaching programs go to www.indianapolisteachingfellows.org.