Each year, seniors at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School deliver a speech to their peers on a topic of their choosing in the Newhall Auditorium. Often equal parts clever and moving, emotional and personal, each speech offers a glimpse into the lives, experiences, struggles, and triumphs of SSM seniors.
Throughout the 2018-19 school year, we will share these speeches with the SSM community and hope that you enjoy the humor, wisdom, and powerful reflections conveyed by our senior students.
Every summer back home, I used to train with a group of hockey players. Everyone plays on a different team, in a different league, in a different place, but we all found ourselves coming back to train with Scott Hebert.
Scott was the best. Every day when I walked into the gym, Scott greeted me with a huge, enthusiastic smile. When he said, “Today’s going to be a doozy,” I knew it was going to be a tough workout. If it was going to be a big leg day, he’d exclaim “It’s going to be a barn burner today, guys!” And Scott was right there with us, competing. He taught me how to be a true athlete, and he taught me how to compete against myself as well as others. But what Scott said that stuck with me most was that training should be a struggle - but a doable struggle.
Last Thanksgiving, Scott took my mom and me snowshoeing. We went up Seymour mountain in British Columbia. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the snow was fresh and powdery. I distinctly remember being terrified when Scott climbed up a small peak, yelled down “Guys, check this out,” and did a backflip off the peak into the fresh snow. He got up with a huge smile on his face, laughing. Then we stopped, and Scott made hot chocolate and brought out Thanksgiving leftovers - turkey and cranberry sandwiches. This is one of the most memorable moments I ever had with Scott.
Scott saw the best in people. He lifted us up. If you were having a bad day in the gym, or a tough season, Scott was always there encouraging you. I knew he would always be in my corner.
Then last March, Scott Hebert took his own life.
I never knew that Scott struggled. On the outside, he was one of the happiest people I knew. He was in his forties and an incredible athlete. He loved the outdoors; he loved hunting and snowshoeing and camping. He had a family - a wife and a daughter only one year older than I am. And with his huge smile and positive energy, I would never have expected that he would commit suicide.
Often I wonder why he did it, or if there was anything anyone could have done to stop it. I feel angry, because I wish his own life could have been like he always said mine should be: a doable struggle. When I went home this past summer, I expected Scott to be there, ready to train, greeting me with a smile on his face, telling me it was going to be a doozy. But he wasn’t there, and without him, I felt lost.
I know I will never have all the answers, and, as much as I wish I could, I will never be able to go back and help Scott, or to change what happened. All I know is that I miss him, and he continues to influence me. Scott reminded me to have fun and to be excited about what I love. He taught me to push myself and to be passionate. I treasure the memories I have of being surrounded by the electric energy that Scott carried with him.
I also know that I need to be grateful, for everything. Even the tough days on the ice, when we’re skating hard. Even the tough days in class when nothing makes sense, and even just the tough days in life. It’s a doable struggle, and I desperately miss the tough days of training with Scott.
Scott, thank you for all the great days, for all the laughs, for all the lobster ball games, for the snowshoeing trips, and for all your encouragement and support. I can’t express how much you meant to me, and to all your other athletes. We all miss you so much.