Apollo and Heritage Park high schools will host Forest Quillen as an inspiration speaker on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Quillen will be speak to freshman and sophomore students in the Apollo High School gymnasium at 9:15 a.m. Heritage Park High School sophomores and juniors will attend an assembly at 10:25 a.m. at the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club.
Quillen will share a personal testimony about growing up in eastern Kentucky with parents who were addicted to drugs. He also became involved in drug use at a young age and was expelled from school and eventually incarcerated. His mother was murdered while he was in jail. “Coming out of jail, my family was really leaning to me for hope,” he said. “I didn’t have any hope.”
After numerous relapses and failed attempts to break his pattern of addiction, Quillen met a pastor who began to counsel and encourage him, providing him with an opportunity to work and develop a new lifestyle. He now works as a counselor and motivational speaker, and will share a positive message in rap as part of his presentation.
Quillen’s story may be viewed online at
Heather McCarty, who serves as Youth Services Center coordinator at Apollo High School, said she believes Quillen’s message will have a powerful impact on students. “I want our students to learn that no matter your situation, you can succeed and make good choices throughout high school and after graduation,” McCarty said. “There is always hope! I am hoping this message will teach our kids about resilience!”
HPHS director Michelle Ruckdeschel said, “Our sophomore and junior classes were chosen to hear this message because they are part of our school Teen Outreach Program and Quillen’s message supports the goals of the TOP program.”