West Lafayette Student's Bright Idea Becomes A Law

Mar 23, 2018

Cumberland Elementary students shine lights in their gymnasium to emulate fireflies as Gov. Holcomb arrives to sign the bill.
Credit Emilie Syberg / WBAA

Governor Eric Holcomb officially anointed the Say’s firefly the state insect of Indiana today at a bill signing at West Lafayette’s Cumberland Elementary School. 

Cumberland students dressed in bright colors and flashed glowing lights in the darkened gymnasium, emulating the newly-minted state insect. Parents, teachers, and even entomologists gathered to watch the bill take flight.

Student Kayla Xu—seated at the governor’s side—was introduced as the bill’s true author. Xu has advocated for the firefly since she was a second grader and says the process wasn’t just a great learning experience for the students in room 23, but for kids all across Indiana.

Our amazing four year journey has been filled with ups and downs, but we persevered and we made it,” says Xu.

Governor Holcomb says the students may now look at the lights of fireflies on summer nights and know they played a critical part in making sure Indiana finally had a state insect of its own. 

From the very first time I heard about this story, and this journey, I said, I'm all in! Doctor, I've got the bug!" says Holcomb. "Let's get this done. This can't be the hardest thing we do. But the truth of it all is, this is a big deal.”

Indiana had been one of only three states without a state insect.