Students Participate In 38-Mile Walk From Aurora To Soldier Field

CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly 70 west suburban high school students walked from their school in Aurora to Soldier Field this week, as an act of solidarity with a former child soldier whose autobiography they read.

East Aurora High School teacher Shane Gillespie teaches a “Survivor Literature” course and this year, one it included “A Long Way Gone,” the memoirs of child soldier Ishmael Beah of Sierre Leone.

Beah was forced to be a government soldier when he was 13 years old and would be forced to walk miles and miles each day without shoes.

Students Participate In 38-Mile Walk From Aurora To Soldier Field

On Wednesday, students walked from East Aurora High School to Soldier Field to try to feel, in some small way, a connection with what Beah went through.

Gillespie says, “Walking is a very solitary thing and even though we had a big group, there was a lot of introspection going on.”

East Aurora senior Kendall McCarter was one of seven students who walked the entire 37 1/2 miles without taking a break in one of the vans that accompanied the group. He felt he had to.

“I felt like, if I gave up, I was nothing; like I couldn’t complete the journey that he had to go through several times”, McCarter says. “I felt really bad for him. We had shoes, and nice equipment, and were well-prepared for it; and it was still very, very hard.”

The walk raised 65-hundred dollars which will help cover the cost of Ismael Beah’s visit to East Aurora High School in a couple of weeks.

More from Bernie Tafoya

More From CBS Chicago

Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live