Seneca HS Seniors Win Video Contest Promoting Visit from Former NBA Player

Chris Herren Returns to the Lenape Regional High School District with Inspirational Story of Substance Abuse, Recovery & Hope

Seneca High School senior Sebastian Friend (left) joins Seneca High School Broadcast Technology Teacher, Mr. Kirk Seeley (center), and fellow classmate and contest partner, Nicholas Lauria (right), as they are honored for the production of their video that they submitted to promote Chris Herren’s upcoming visit.

Two Seneca High School seniors created the winning video to promote the upcoming visit of former NBA player and nationally renowned motivational speaker, author, and sobriety expert Chris Herren to the students of the Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD). Nicholas Lauria and Sebastian Friend won the contest with a video that portrays a drug addict’s level of desperation. Herren is returning to the LRHSD to present his inspirational story of substance abuse, recovery and hope to students as part of the district’s “Defy the Issue” campaign, first launched by students, staff and the community in 2010.

Lenape Regional High School District Superintendent, Dr. Carol Birnbohm, thought the contest was a competitive and creative way to bring light to a serious issue.

“We are appreciative of all of the students that participated in the Chris Herren video promo contest. We congratulate Seneca students Nicholas Lauria and Sebastian Friend on their winning video, which was played for our parents and staff at Back to School Night. We thank our students for using their talents to help us continue our Defy the Issue mission of educating students and families about the dangers of drug and alcohol use,” said Birnbohm.

In 2013, Herren first presented his program to and shared his story with students, parents, and staff at the Lenape Regional High School District; Herren is returning to the district later in October.

Jeff Spector, Seneca High School Principal, explained the importance of Herren’s message and the pride he has for his students. “The Defy the Issue message has been a core value of the Lenape Regional High School District. The message is a community outreach that promotes a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle. We are so proud Nick and Sebastian embraced this message and created the winning promo video. We are confident that their work will help to encourage the community to come and hear Chris’s powerful message,” said Spector.

Entries for the contest were received from each of the district’s four high schools. Lauria and Friend created an attention-grabbing promotional video that portrays simulated drug deals between students, and the downward spiral of the struggle and desperation of an addict. Their video can be viewed at

Kirk Seeley, Seneca High School’s Broadcast Technology Teacher, was proud to see his students recognized for their hard work. “I’m very proud of Sebastian and Nick. They take all of their work extremely seriously. The two of them passionately discuss the approach and execution of their projects and I believe that shows in the work they put forth. Their video was a clear demonstration of raising our level of effort to match the severity of the message,” said Seeley.

Herren will speak at school assemblies for ninth- through twelfth-grade students at Lenape, Shawnee, Cherokee, and Seneca High Schools from Tuesday, Oct. 17th through Friday, October 20th. He will hold a special presentation for parents and guardians on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. at Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center located at Cherokee High School, 130 Tomlinson Mill Road in Marlton. This presentation, as well as a substance abuse awareness expo, will be open to the public. The expo, provided by the LRHSD’s Defy the Issue, will begin at 6 pm, and will include various support resources and organizations such as Princeton House, High Focus, Prevention Plus, Burlington County Addiction Services, and King’s Crusade. City of Angels will have their “Hidden in Plain Sight” exhibit available as well.