IPS relaunches Thrival Indy Academy to provide students a free study abroad program

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A high school will soon open on the east side that will give students an opportunity they normally wouldn’t have. It’s called Thrival Indy Academy, and it gives teens the chance to study abroad regardless of their economic status.

It’s not a new school, it’s reenvisioned.

“Something like this, three months in a different country for free, that doesn’t come around too often,” said 18-year-old James Ward, a former Thrival Indy student.

The message on his t-shirt is a stamp of pride. It reads, “This kid studied abroad.”

“I have a lot of friends that I know from firsthand experience wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of Ms. Hui. She opened up so many doors,” Ward said.

Ward traveled to Thailand and he got school credit for it, for free.

“We went to an elephant sanctuary and that was the greatest experience ever. We got to go through a lot of markets,” said Ward.

“Our focus is closing the opportunity gap in study abroad opportunities, bringing equity and access to international study,” said India Hui, the Executive Director of Thrival Indy Academy. “This community is love.”

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is re-launching the school after it closed for a year, to work through challenges. The school will be open in the fall of 2020.

“I’m extremely dedicated to providing access to the world, to our students,” said Hui.

Now based inside Arlington Middle School, the four-year high school will launch with the 9th grade and has plans to continue to grow in the coming years.

“You have school here, you have school there,” Hui explained. “The only difference is now your class may take a field trip to a water treatment center or temples for geometry.”

Students will have the chance to travel to Costa Rica their sophomore year for one week. Plus, take a 12-week trip to the Dominican Republic their junior year, along with their normal course work.  Thrival Indy is a separate 501 (c)(3).  Students are able to go on the free study abroad trips through grants, fundraising and sponsorships.

“I’m very proud of being from this side of the city, we’re very resilient people here,” said Hui.

She says it’s an experience that’s unlike anything on the under-served east side.

“We have high expectations because we cannot, we are not going to fall into statistics,” Hui added. “We are not going to repeat cycles. We are going to break any toxic cycles that we’ve been part of, any toxic systemic cycles, we are here to break those.”

Breaking toxic cycles and gives students like ward, a chance of a lifetime.

“I didn’t think I wanted to be a psychiatrist until I went to Thailand. I know that might sound a little cliché,” Ward said.

IPS is gearing up for their 6th annual Showcase of Schools. It’s coming up on Nov. 10 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse from 1-5 p.m. This is an opportunity for families to come check out the 70+ schools IPS offers, including choice programs, as enrollment opens.

Click here to learn more about the Showcase of Schools.

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