Indianapolis area high school students in recovery from substance use disorder graduate from Indiana’s only recovery high school during Hope Academy’s 16th Commencement
Today, May 21, 2022, Hope Academy, Indiana’s only recovery high school, celebrated its 16th Commencement at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center on the campus of the University of Indianapolis. During the ceremony, seven graduates were honored, all of whom have overcome some of the most significant obstacles in the recovery high school’s history, including navigating the uncertainties of the pandemic while also maintaining their sobriety.
Graduates of the Hope Academy Class of 2022 included: Hayden Brinley (Fishers, IN), Gavynn Hewitt (Indianapolis, IN), Joseph Johnsen (Montgomery, Il), Riley Kim (Fishers, IN), John Lackner (Brownsburg, IN), Easton Snodgrass (Westfield, IN) and Jackson Warren (Fishers, IN).
Guest speakers included the president & CEO of Christel House International and former Mayor of Indianapolis Bart Peterson, Mark Feeser of the Indianapolis Colts, and Rachel Beavers from Hope Academy’s Class of 2011. As a former Hope Academy student, Rachel shared her experiences with the graduates as someone who has been in their position not too long ago.
“My journey with addiction started at a young age. This disease broke me down, took me away from those who loved me, and almost took my life, more than once,” said Hope Academy Alumna Rachel. “Hope Academy was there to pick me up, offer support in a way that I had no idea I needed and did all of this without judgment.”
The Hope Academy 2022 Class Valedictorian was Riley Kim from Fishers, Indiana, who enrolled in Hope Academy in August of 2021, four months after getting sober. This fall, Riley plans to attend IUPUI and then IUPUI Herron School of Art + Design to study art therapy.
“I love that I can come to school every day and know that I’m safe,” shared Riley. “The support I’ve received is something I’d never known before Hope. I was believed in and supported for what felt like the first time in school. I’ve learned so much during my time here and can’t wait to possibly return as a staff member next year.”
The Dr. Sig Zielke scholarship was presented to the class valedictorian, Riley Kim, and the Simon Youth Foundation scholarships were presented to Easton Snodgrass and Riley Kim. Additionally, each graduate shared remarks from the podium and personally thanked someone special who helped them get to graduation day.