Hamilton Heights High Schools’ annual Ryan White Walk raised over $2,000 this year for the Ryan White Scholarship Fund.  Aubrey Franklin, Christopher Franklin, Meridian Franklin, and Sarah Mariotti (pictured l-r), who were among the vast majority of high school students who participated in the daylong event, shared why, “Ryan White’s story was a big influence on us because he stood up for himself and what he believed in.”
Hamilton Heights High Schools’ annual Ryan White Walk raised over $2,000 this year for the Ryan White Scholarship Fund. Aubrey Franklin, Christopher Franklin, Meridian Franklin, and Sarah Mariotti (pictured l-r), who were among the vast majority of high school students who participated in the daylong event, shared why, “Ryan White’s story was a big influence on us because he stood up for himself and what he believed in.”
This year’s Ryan White Walk at Hamilton Heights High School raised over $2,000 for the Ryan White Scholarship Fund. 
One day a year, students pay $1 to miss each period and participate in activities outside such as walking around the track, corn hole, and Kan Jam.  There is music, food, and camaraderie to help raise awareness to continue to preserve Ryan White’s legacy, "Help me beat the odds and together let’s educate and save the children of tomorrow" while raising funds for the scholarship fund created in his memory in 1991.  
“The Ryan White Scholarship began in 1989 when money from all over the country was sent to Heights in Ryan’s memory,” said Kim Kaiser, a business education teacher at Hamilton Heights and the long-term treasurer of the fund.  “The school and AIDS Council created The Ryan White Scholarship to award seniors planning to pursue careers in fields that were important to Ryan – education, health and medical.  For the past 30 years, Hamilton Heights High School has awarded over $62,000 to 74 students. The Hamilton Heights High School Student Government organization has been hosting the Ryan White Walk fundraiser for the better part of 30 years.”
Ryan White, a 14-year-old boy from Kokomo, was diagnosed with AIDS in Dec. 1984 after contracting the virus from a contaminated hemophilia treatment.  He faced intense discrimination from his school and community in a time of fear and misunderstanding about the disease. Ryan and his family moved to Cicero, where he was embraced by Hamilton Heights High School and the community. Ryan lived for over five years after his diagnosis. He lost his battle to the disease in April 1990, one month prior to his high school graduation.  His story, which has become an integral part of Hoosier history, still resonates with people around the world and his legacy continues to raise awareness on AIDS.  
Junior Katie Cummings said the event was a reminder how one person can change the world. “It also reminds us to be tolerant and supportive of each other and our differences,” added Junior, Caitlyn Houser.  Hannah Tinch, also a junior, said Heights gave him [Ryan White] a chance to belong and that is something everyone wants and deserves. “This event is a way we can keep Ryan White’s legacy alive while raising money for scholarships,” said senior Hudson Hochstedler, who has helped with the event since his freshman year. 
This year marks the 32st anniversary of his first year at Hamilton Heights High School.  An Indiana historical marker commemorating his contributions was installed during a special dedication at Hamilton Heights Middle School (formerly the high school) on August 30.
Money for the Ryan White Scholarship Fund are generated through the annual Ryan White Scholarship Walk fundraiser and private donations. Donations can be mailed to: the Ryan White Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 379, Arcadia, IN 46030, Attn: Kim Kaiser.