FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s not graduation season, but Canterbury High School handed out a special diploma Monday.
Former Canterbury basketball standout and two-time plane crash survivor Austin Hatch received an honorary diploma.
The Fort Wayne native survived a 2003 airplane crash that killed his mother, sister and brother.
In 2011, Hatch had just committed to play basketball at the University of Michigan when his father and stepmother were killed in another plane crash in Charlevoix, Michigan, that left Hatch in a coma for weeks.
Hatch left Fort Wayne before his senior year to live in California.
“I’m grateful that they think that I’m deserving to be a Canterbury alum. I feel like I am. It kind of goes to show that even if you’re not with people every single day you can lead by example. You’ve got to hold yourself to a high standard no matter where you are because people are always watching and, again, I’m just grateful.”
Hatch, who said he is a full-time motivational speaker, shared his story Monday with middle school and high school students and staff at Canterbury.
“What happened to me and my family and what we overcame may not specifically be relatable, but adversity is relatable,” Hatch said. “Everybody experiences it every day. I feel like part of my purpose in life- in addition to being a great husband and a great dad- is to help other people overcome their challenges and achieve their goals.”