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Hope Academy helps students struggling with substance abuse disorder

Posted at 11:35 PM, Feb 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-23 23:35:00-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Getting sober and living a healthy life is a challenging journey for many Hoosiers living with addiction.

Sarah Platt went to a treatment center as a high school student, and that was where she learned about Hope Academy, the state's only recovery high school that helps students struggling with substance use disorder and their academics.

"I went home and told my parents, 'I think there is a place that can help me,'" Platt said. "I remember thinking there was a place that I could be surrounded by like-minded people. People who understand what I am going through and know how to offer me help. I really had no clue."

Hope Academy co-founder Rachelle Gardner said the goal of the high school is to help students on their path to recovery. The school held its annual Taste of Hope event, which helps keep the school keep its doors open.

"When a student is experimenting with the drinking or marijuana use, not going to school or failing in school, this is a great prevention model to bring them in and help them get themselves back on track before it gets too far down the path of when they are juniors or seniors and they don't have any credits to be able to graduate," Gardner said.

Platt, who graduated in 2019, is one of Hope Academy's success stories.

"It was rough at first, but I ended up graduating valedictorian," she said.

Platt now works at Hope Academy as a peer specialist where she helps guide students who face the same struggles she overcame.

"Sometimes I have to look at them and say, 'I get it. I've done it. I've been through it. And I know what you're feeling and it's not going to always feel like this,'" she said.

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