Indianapolis area high school students in recovery from substance use disorder graduate from Indiana’s only recovery high school during Hope Academy’s 17th Commencement
INDIANAPOLIS – On Saturday, May 20, 2023, Hope Academy, Indiana’s only recovery high school, celebrated its 17th Commencement at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center on the campus of the University of Indianapolis. During the ceremony, six graduates were honored for their academic and recovery achievements.
Graduates of the Hope Academy Class of 2023 included: Carter Friedman (Westfield, IN), Austin Gildea (Indianapolis, IN), Ashley Mash (Noblesville, IN), Harrison Montgomery (Fortville, IN), Payton Thurlow (Fishers, IN) and Ryan Wuertz (Indianapolis, IN).
Guest speakers included Jacob Gilliatte of Gilliatte General Contractors, serving as the ceremony’s voice of recovery, and Doug Huntsinger, State of Indiana Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement, serving as the keynote speaker. During his keynote speech, Huntsinger commended the graduates for overcoming the obstacles of being young people in recovery from substance use disorder.
“It takes tremendous strength, courage, and resilience to defeat the disease of addiction and the trials that accompany it. We achieve the greatest growth when we confront and conquer the obstacles that are in our path, and you have proven time and time again that you are up for that challenge,” Huntsinger shared. “When you leave today, you’ll not only leave with a diploma but a deep sense of pride.”
The Hope Academy 2023 Class Valedictorian was Ashley Mash from Noblesville, Indiana. Ashley recently celebrated nine months of sobriety and has enrolled at Ball State University to study wildlife conservation.
During her speech, Ashley shared, “Hard things will happen to us. We will get through it. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it. And as long as we can still take one step forward along this adventure of life, we will all be okay in the end.”
Valedictorian, Ashley Mash, received the Dr. Sig Zielke Scholarship and Jim Barnes Scholarship. The Simon Youth Foundation Scholarship was presented to Ryan Wuertz. Additionally, each graduate shared remarks from the podium and personally thanked someone special who helped them get to graduation day.