‘Honored and blessed’

Anchor adviser Sam Hanley wins Indiana Adviser of the Year award


Anchor member Siang Zi

Anchor adviser Sam Hanley receives a plaque with his name and award on it. Executive director of the IHSPA Ryan Gunterman handed him his plaque and congratulated him on the stage.

Each year, the Indiana High School Press Association holds a state convention for schools across Indiana. This event is hosted at Franklin College in Franklin, Ind. 

During the convention, a keynote speech is given followed by awards and various recognitions. 

This year’s convention welcomed Chicago Sports Radio host and former Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh to give the annual keynote speech. Afterwards, both Hoosier Star awards and the IHSPA Adviser of the Year awards were announced. 

Executive director of the IHSPA Ryan Gunterman read letters of recommendation from colleagues of this year’s Indiana Adviser of the Year. Though the letters remained anonymous, they discussed how this adviser made significant progress for their program to allow students to use preferred names and pronouns in the yearbook’s index. 

Hanley holds back tears while trying to deliver a speech after receiving his award. He received a plaque with his name on it along with a stipend.

From that mark, it became apparent to students at SHS that they knew who the 2023 IHSPA Adviser of the Year was: Anchor adviser Sam Hanley. 

“I’m honored and blessed,” Hanley said. “There are just a ton of deserving and qualified and frankly, advisers who are better than I am.”

Hanley’s recognition was nothing short of deserved, colleagues say. Co-Editors-in-Chief of the Anchor Olivia Graphman and Rin Diki, The Journal adviser Mike Klopfenstein and Principal Brian Knight sent in letters of recommendation to nominate him for this award. 

“The bottom line is he’s deserving,” Klopfenstein said. “He’s been a fantastic adviser for such a long time and … this is a guy who helps out kids not just out of school, but all over the state, hopefully all over the country.” 


The bottom line is he’s deserving.”

— The Journal adviser Mike Klopfenstein

Hanley also serves as the Vice President of the IHSPA Executive Board, meaning he couldn’t be informed of his recognition prior to the event. It was difficult to keep this honor a secret, Gunterman said. 

“I’ve known Mr. Hanley for half my life,” Gunterman said. “… It was really hard because he’s part of the planning of this event and for him to not be involved with the somewhat big portion is very counterintuitive.”

Hanley was given a plaque and gave a speech to everyone present at the event after the announcement. Students from SHS erupted with cheering and tears followed shortly thereafter. Although Hanley felt honored to be recognized at this level, it was not the first thing on his mind.

“This is 100% about the kids,” Hanley said. “… Nobody’s in this for the awards or the money, … but it is about the kids.”