Herren delivers thoughtful message to students


Pat Ferraiolo

Last month, Chris Herren, author of Basketball Junkie, talked to the Malvern students and community about the dangers of drug addiction.

Chris Herren gave one of the most thought provoking and unique speeches Malvern has heard in recent years, according to many in the Malvern community. In his own words, “I am not your ordinary speaker.”

Towering over the Malvern community on the Duffy stage, Chris Herren’s presence made clear the reason he was here. He was not here to talk about his own story. He was not here to tell the people how he screwed up throughout his life. Chris Herren was here to challenge the Malvern students to ask themselves why they choose to make bad decisions.

“I am not here to talk about the last day,” Herren said. “Instead, I am here to talk about the first day.”

According to Herren, the first day of any drug or alcohol addiction is during the ‘innocent fun’ that high schoolers have.

“It all starts in basements with beer and keg stands,” Herren said. “It all starts with just drinking in the woods with your friends or in a basement where parents told you that you were safe.”

Throughout his whole presentation, Herren’s main point of emphasis focused on why students succumb to the temptations of drugs and alcohol. He was blunt, succinct, and stern with his simple message.

“What is it about you that makes you feel so inadequate that you have to have drugs or alcohol?” he asked.

What made his speech especially unique was the that he did not have to tell the students about his backstory. A half hour video from the ESPN Films 30 for 30: “Unguarded”, was shown to the students right before Herren took the stage. The video described Herren’s fall into drug addiction and his eventual triumph.

By the time he walked onto the stage, some of the students did not know what to expect, and were blown away with what he had to say.

“His talk caught me by surprise,” senior Rob DiCicco said. “The fact that he chose to focus on the importance of self-esteem and self worth really hit me hard.”

Herren kept stating that the choice to not just drink alcohol, but to make bad decisions was one that we make on our own.

“I doubt that your parents even know who you are,” Herren said. “Because they do not know the way you act on Friday and Saturday nights. What is so terrible about yourself that you have to turn to drugs and alcohol on Friday and Saturday nights?”

The Malvern community took a lot from this presentation, and the timeliness of the speech was most appropriate.

“I thought that it was definitely a very good experience,” junior Gabe Canzanese said. “The timing right after homecoming was perfect because some people were tempted with alcohol at the after parties, and this gives us a time to reflect on our actions. He had a great message and surely impacted me. It was interesting, yet very serious.”