Students at Rye Neck Middle School and Rye Neck High School welcomed special guest Tony Hoffman to their school on Dec. 6. Hoffman, a former BMX pro, U.S. Olympic coach and recovering addict, shared his personal experiences and struggles with substance abuse and discussed how he was able to turn his life around.

“Tony was incredibly lively and engaging,” Rye Neck Middle School guidance counselor Meegan Lawlor said. “He had [our students] completely spellbound. You could have heard a pin drop. The students immediately connected with his energy, enthusiasm and his honesty and were truly excited to hear his message.” 

With addiction now behind him, Hoffman has dedicated his life to bringing awareness about the dangers of substance abuse and shares his story with young people from across the country. 

Rye Neck High School student representatives from Student Senate, the Student Athlete Cabinet and Students Against Destructive Decisions previously heard from Hoffman during a Project WORTHY Youth Leadership Summit in October. During the summit, students from high schools across Westchester County listened to guest speakers and participated in panel discussions to learn about the dangers and underlying causes of opioid and drug use.  

“The students found [Hoffman]’s presentation and story so riveting that they felt the whole student body at Rye Neck could benefit from hearing his personal experience,” Rye Neck High School Principal Tina Wilson said. 

Using Hoffman’s story of how alcohol and substance abuse led to a downward spiral in his life, the students will continue to keep his message alive through school campaigns, along with SADD and guidance department workshops. 

“As a result of the ongoing efforts of our staff and the leadership of our students, we are confident that Rye Neck students will have the tools needed to make smart and healthy choices,” Wilson added. 

Hoffman’s visit was generously sponsored by the PTSA.