From being the student who thought, “I’m not going to be the guy with the microphone,” or “I’m not going to be the guy to smoke or drink,” Tony Hoffman became “the guy with the microphone” by speaking out upon his past struggles with drug abuse and addiction.
On Nov. 14, students and faculty had the opportunity to listen to Hoffman when he visited DV to speak about his life experiences and what made him decide to turn his life around.
“I think it was fantastic, and it was the first time when we had an assembly where kids came up to me afterwards thanking me for having him come in to speak. I think it was a home run,” said high school principal Dr. Brian Blaum.
At the assembly, Hoffman took students through the lowest points of his life from living on the streets, going to prison, damaging the relationship he had with his parents all while explaining how severe drug use affected his life.
Hoffman was sent to prison on Dec. 22, 2007. At this time he came to the realization that his life was not how he wanted it to be, he wanted to put his addiction behind him.
“I had a spiritual awakening when I went to prison. I had a calling that everything I went through needed to be shared,” said Hoffman.
Although he emphasized these points, he also took the students through the high points of his life, explaining the successes he has today and how he has helped others who are dealing and have dealt with addiction.
“He had a strong connection with the audience and it was very intriguing. It was inspiring to see him turn his life into something more meaningful and was able to help others by doing so,” said junior Grace Conselyea.
Hoffman was released from prison on parole on Dec. 13, 2008, and had the support of his parents to achieve his new dream. Almost nine years later, Hoffman is the founder and director of the Freewheel Project, an Olympic coach and former BMX Elite Pro.
Hoffman has been speaking about his story for the past eight years and has had a massive impact on the hundreds of people he has spoken to.
“I know the impact is real when I receive messages through social media from someone who’s thinking about committing suicide, or going through depression or someone who almost started using drugs,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman’s assembly left a great impact on many students and one thing that could have been taken away from his speech is that “one choice can change the rest of your life.”