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Students, staff and community invited to program to remember Ryan White

Hamilton Heights School Corporation in Arcadia will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ryan White’s first day of school at Hamilton Heights High School. Community members, staff and students – present and past – are invited to attend tomorrow’s (Aug. 31) program in the West Gym of Hamilton Heights Middle School at 8:45 a.m. ET.

In the late 1980s, White contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion to treat the genetic disorder, hemophilia. Due to his AIDS diagnosis and misunderstanding of the virus transmission, he was banned from attending his school in Kokomo. After a court battle, White returned to school, but he and his family were ostracized and bullied. His family moved to Cicero, where students and staff at Hamilton Heights High School welcomed White.

White’s very public battle with his diagnosis brought national attention and increased education and understanding of HIV/AIDS. His perseverance to attend school and enjoy his teenage years reemphasized the role and value of public schools to educate all students.  

In 1990, White died one month before his high school graduation. His legacy in the school, community, state and nation will not be forgotten. White’s efforts to break the stigma of an AIDS diagnosis was heroic for his time and will be long remembered.

For those interested in honoring White’s legacy, a luncheon for those who attended or worked at the school district during White’s time will follow the program. The event will conclude at 12 p.m. ET.

Event information

For more about White’s legacy and life, visit the Ryan White & Global HIV/AIDS Program.