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RCA gymnasium photographed for Hoosier Hardwood Photo Project

Contributed photo: Michael E. Keating, with the Hoosier Hardwood Photo Project, talks with Cora Owings' third-grade class.

The Hoosier Hardwood Photo Project visited Rural Community Academy on Tuesday.

In 2013, photographers Chris Smith and Michael E. Keating began a journey to document Indiana's historic high school gyms. Smith and Keating came out to photograph the Graysville gymnasium to capture the unique style and to help preserve history.

“Our third-grade class, with teacher Cora Jo Owings, participated in this photo shoot,” Chief Academics Officer Jennifer Wall said. “Mr. Smith and Mr. Keating spoke to the students about this special project, the work they've done and why it's so important.”

On their website, the two explain why they feel this project is important.

“Although basketball was not born in Indiana, the state adopted the game as its own — nine of the top 10 largest high school gyms in the United States are located in Indiana.”

As of 2019, Smith and Keating have traveled more than 50,000 miles, shot more than 400,000 digital frames and visited more than 300 gyms.

“This was a great connection to the Indiana Academic social standards for third grade, as Mrs. Owings kicks off her year with a focus on the community,” Wall said.

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