Inspire Awards to Recognize Arizona’s Top Leaders at Arizona’s Top School for Autism

Gateway Academy To Honor Astronaut and Arizona’s Largest Locally Owned Fitness Founder


(PHOENIX) Gateway Academy, the Valley’s top school serving Twice-Exceptional students (academically capable and diagnosed with a level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder), is hosting its Inaugural Inspire Awards on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 at 11:00a.m. Gateway Academy has been serving students on the spectrum since 2005.

For the inaugural Inspire Awards, the school will honor Innovators Dr. Sian Proctor of Space X, who was the first black woman to pilot a spacecraft and Tom Hatten, the owner and founder of Arizona’s biggest and locally owned fitness center, Mountainside Fitness.

Dr. Proctor is a geoscientist, explorer, space artist, and astronaut. She is the mission pilot for the Inspiration4 all-civilian orbital mission to space. She is also one of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty People Changing the World. Her motto is called Space2inspire where she encourages people to use their unique, one-of-a-kind strengths, and passion to inspire those within their reach and beyond. She believes that we need to actively strive for a J.E.D.I. space: a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive space as we advance human spaceflight.

Tom Hatten, is an entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. In 1991 Hatten, had just $2,000 to his name and a dream to open his own gym. He was just 22-years-old and a student at Arizona State University at the time, but thanks to family and friends and a perseverance to succeed, Hatten would go on to owning and operating Arizona’s biggest fitness empire, Mountainside Fitness. More than 30 years later with and 19 Mountainside Fitness locations, Hatten shares his story in his memoir “Dream On” and details the remarkable journey and what it takes to build a business from the ground up.

Both Dr. Proctor and Hatten will share their inspirational and innovative stories and how they have become two of Arizona’s most influential leaders.
The Inspire Awards 2022 will also honor two Gateway students. Those students include Joseph Salomon, who will be nominated for the Aeronautical Award and Meaghan Mullenax, who will be nominated for the Entrepreneurial Award.

“At Gateway Academy, we believe every student should be embraced for their strengths, their differences and for what makes them exceptional,” said Robin Sweet, founder and principal. “We are excited to celebrate the innovators in our community and hear their stories while we share our school and a unique learning environment that celebrates individuality, fosters creativity and curiosity, and encourages all personalities to shine through.”

Joseph Salomon is a High School Senior and his dream is to become an astronaut or work in the field of aeronautics. During his high school years, he has built numerous rockets using our 3D printer, and most launches were a great success. He has applied to Embrey Riddle College in Prescott with the intent of majoring in aeronautics.
Meaghan Mullenax is a Freshman in High School, and, in Middle School, she started her company, Puzzle Wax, with the theme of Autism Awareness in mind. For two consecutive years, Meaghan has donated $500 from her company to support Gateway Academy missions of serving students with High Functioning Autism. She is a born entrepreneur!