After eighteen months in suspended animation, Freedman Academy came back to life this month with a field trip of ten mentees and four mentors to Chicago.

The group traveled on August 5 to the Windy City on the South Shore commuter railroad and then took a 90-minute Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour on the Chicago River. Before boarding the South Shore for the trip back to South Bend, the group made a brief stop at “The Bean,” the glistening sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

The field trip was to have been the second Freedman activity of the summer, as we tiptoe back into regular life after the long isolation forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the first planned activity—a South Bend Cubs baseball game at Four Winds Field—was rained out by one of the thunderstorms that has raked our area and the entire Midwest this summer. That outing has been rescheduled for later in August. 

Barring a cataclysmic resurgence of the coronavirus, Freedman Academy will resume a regular schedule of in-person sessions in September. The schedule includes a field trip every other session and an ongoing, year-long program of robotics construction, programming and competition.We are to be assisted in the robotics work by students from the University of Notre Dame and hosted on the ND campus by students in the rocketry club, the athletic department, media programs and others. This Notre Dame partnership is the result of work undertaken with the help of computer engineering Professor Jay Brockman, who runs Notre Dame’s Center for Civic Innovation.