Students Hear Timely Message from Chris Herren

Chris Herren spoke to students at RHS on Friday, January 13 about substance abuse. photo by Maddie Gear

Jasmin Morse, Veritas Web Editor

RHS students and faculty congregated in the RMS/RHS auditorium on Jan. 13 to listen to a story of drug abuse, and a message about self-confidence told by Chris Herren. Herren, an ex-NBA player whose heroin addiction forced him out of a basketball career, now shares his story on overcoming addiction as a lecturer.

This event was sponsored by Daniel Biggins, Rockland School Committee Chairman.

Mr. Biggins first started following Herren during his basketball career in high school, college, all the way to Herren making it on the Celtics.

He also remembered the challenges Herren faced with drug abuse and admired his recovery and the speeches Herren started presenting all across the country,

“I admired his efforts to deter others from making the same mistakes he did by sharing his story with brutal honesty.

What motivated Mr. Biggins to bring Herren to RHS was how close his subject matter hit home to many in the Rockland community that have been struck hard with the  drug abuse epidemic.

Mr. Biggins explained that he and his family, who own and operate Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home in Rockland, have recently had the sad honor to assist many local  families who have lost  family members and friends due to drug abuse. “We share the pain our community feels due to the effects of substance abuse, and wish to do our part to raise awareness about the topic. In reaching out to Herren, we aimed to do just that.”

The ex-Celtics star spoke of his high school drug abuse leading into his professional basketball career and four overdoses. He explained the impact drugs have on families and provoked many high school students to contemplate their decisions and ask themselves “Why?”

Sophomore Patrick O’Toole said Herren’s story and message, although saddening, were quite inspirational. Herren went from overdosing four times on heroin to being someone his children can look up to, and being admired by many.

Herren suggested others can bounce back just as he has if they make the effort. He urged students to be someone younger family members can look up to, and to be someone their parents can be proud of, while sharing the stories he has encountered on his journey.

Mr. Biggins thought that bringing Herren in would help open up RHS students’ eyes to the lasting effects of drug abuse. Herren can relate to students in Rockland because he grew up in a town in close proximity to Rockland that was, in many ways, quite similar. Mr. Biggins explained, “[Herren]  really is able to effectively empathize with the amount of hurt that Rockland families have been through.”

Sophomore Patrick O’Toole felt Herren related to RHS for similar reasons, and that his words really hit home to many students due to Herren describing his interactions with drugs as a kid high school age.

O’Toole also admired Herren’s passion when discussing the hardships he experienced in his past.

“I think he made an impact by scaring at least some of the kids with the stories he told, and just his overall passion for the situation.”

Mr. Biggins closed by explaining he can only hope Herren’s presentation made an impact on students. Mr . Biggins said, “If Chris was able to reach even one young man or woman, it will have been worth it.”

All in all, Herren’s speech was inspirational and eye opening to many. The RHS students and faculty would like to thank Herren and Mr. Biggins for this presentation.

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