Former NBA Player Visits Island Trees High School

Chris Herren came to Levittown to speak to students on his battle with drugs and alcohol and how he overcame his addictions.

Chris Herren, who played in the NBA for the Celtics, visited Island Trees on Feb. 6 to speak with students. Credit: Island Trees HS
Chris Herren, who played in the NBA for the Celtics, visited Island Trees on Feb. 6 to speak with students. Credit: Island Trees HS
Submitted by the Island Trees School District.  

Due to the generosity of the Island Trees School District PTSA, students in grades eight, nine and 10, as well as our high school Peer Leaders, attended an assembly on Feb. 6 to hear from former NBA player Chris Herren.

Herren, a basketball legend from Fall River, Massachusetts, a community very similar to Island Trees, realized his dreams by playing for the Celtics in the NBA, only to lose it all to addiction.

Drug-free and alcohol-free since Aug. 1, 2008, Herren has refocused his life to put sobriety and family above all else. Herren shares his story with audiences in the hopes of reaching just one person and making a difference in their life.

With the release of his memoir, Basketball Junkie, in May of 2011, Herren was approached by hundreds of people and their families looking for assistance in their road to recovery. Inspired by their stories, Chris formed The Herren Project and Project Purple to educate at-risk populations on addiction and help others in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety.

This talk was not just for those who are athletically inclined, or for those suffering from addiction. Mr. Herren spoke directly to all of the students, and told them that they must work to like who they are. He shared with the students the fact that since he did not like himself in high school, and later in college, he turned to drinking and drugs. 

Students need to know that there are many people in the school community who care about them and are here for them if they need someone to talk to. This is especially true at Island Trees, where our caring and compassionate guidance counselors, school psychologists, teachers and social worker are available at a moment’s notice to talk through overwhelming teenage problems, substance abuse issues and to formulate positive strategies for recovery.

As Herren says, it is never too late to follow your dreams. It takes drive and follow- through to make your dreams become a reality.  To our students at Island Trees, please hold on to your dreams!

The next in a series of speakers will be John Halligan, father of a young boy who committed suicide due to intense cyber-bullying.  Please join us on Tuesday, March 12 at 7pm for this special presentation. Learn what you need to know as a parent in protecting your child (of any age) from any type of bullying.


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