Alum Spotlight: Ben Jessome ’06 (Nova Scotia MLA)

Ben (L) and teammate Algerson Andre ’06 (R) were a formidable duo on the track.

Ben (L) and teammate Algerson Andre ’06 (R) were a formidable duo on the track.


Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Ben Jessome never thought about attending a boarding school in Maine. However, at an Andrews Hockey Showcase in Prince Edward Island, he met Hebron Boys’ Hockey Head Coach Jamie Roche ’95, and after building a rapport, Ben could not turn down his offer to come for a visit to Hebron. He was hesitant to make such a drastic change late in his junior year in high school, but after some urging by his father he agreed to make the transition. Ben’s brother Jon ’07 also attended Hebron. Ben later graduated from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, before successfully running for a seat in the Nova Scotia Legislature. At age 27, Ben is the youngest Member of Nova Scotia’s Legislative Assembly. The budding statesman sat down with fellow Canadian Geoff Campbell of Hebron’s Communications Office to reflect on Ben’s Hebron days and how his experience then has informed his current life vision.

Ben, Daniel (2005 Graduation)

After the 2005 Commencement ceremonies with friends Jordan Krusch ’06 (left) and Danny Perrault ’05 (center).

What did you like most about Hebron?

Living in dorms was probably one of the best things about Hebron. It was great to live with the people who you go to school with and play sports with. Doing everything together probably becomes the fondest memory I have of Hebron. Also, I was lucky in the sense that I always had adults at Hebron to chat with and share what was happening. Ms. [Carnie] Burns was my English teacher, and she became my Hebron mom, so to speak. I think she noticed that I looked up to her, and I learned a lot from her.

What was your favorite subject and why?

I’d have to say English both because of the content of the course and how we learned to respectfully express ourselves. There wasn’t really anything that we didn’t talk about in class. If you were being respectful of the

other people in the room, then your writing and speech were unencumbered and you became free to state your own positions.

And your favorite memory?

I’d have to say my favorite memory was winning the New England Championship in hockey in 2006. We had an incredible run.

How would you describe your Hebron experience?

It initially seemed like a big risk to leave home for an environment I was unfamiliar with, but taking those steps put me in a position where I had to elevate myself and step outside my comfort zone to achieve. That was Hebron for me at first. It was a situation where I didn’t know what to expect at the time, but it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. It really forced me to grow up in a real way: moving away from home and taking on various leadership roles with sports and as a student proctor. Being surrounded by student leaders was a huge learning experience for me.

Ben Jessome '06 today

Ben Jessome ’06 today

How did Hebron Academy help you develop as a leader?

I was a proctor in my senior year, and that had a lot to do with the crowd I hung out with. My friends were very keen on putting themselves in leadership roles, and we thought that we could really make a difference in the life of the school. I think that that was one of the first experiences I had where I was challenged to look at the greater good and put myself on the line to help other people. When you start at Hebron, you probably don’t know what to expect.

At least that is the way it was for me. It’s a vastly different experience from a public high school, but you really build that sense of family, that sense of community and trust, and reliance on others. . . . When you’ve had that Hebron experience and then move on, you realize that you probably wouldn’t have had it anywhere else.

Ben and younger brother Jon Jessome ’07 sit proudly with their New England Championship hockey trophy after a highly successful 2005-2006 season. Ben attri-butes much of his growth at Hebron to his competitive athletic experience, which developed leadership and communication skills that were catalyst to his election to Nova Scotia legislature.

Ben and younger brother Jon Jessome ’07 sit proudly with their New England Championship hockey trophy after a highly successful 2005-2006 season. Ben attri-butes much of his growth at Hebron to his competitive athletic experience, which developed leadership and communication skills that were catalyst to his election to Nova Scotia legislature.

Looking back, would you have done anything differently?

At the time I might have liked to pursue a career in sports in the US, and for a little while that dream haunted me; but being where I am right now, I wouldn’t trade my Hebron experience at all. It gave me the skills that I needed to make the transition to university, and my experience at Acadia really gave me the tools and confidence to make a difference in the world I’m in now.

Who would you like to see at Homecoming?

It’s just too hard to name one person, but I suppose that’s a good problem to have because that says a lot about the type of people who were at Hebron while I was there, and who I am sure are like the people at the school today.

How did you get from Hebron to the Nova Scotia Legislature?

Once high school and my sports career ended, there was a real emptiness when it came to fulfilling my need for competition, for challenging myself on a daily basis. For me that void was filled by politics at Acadia. At Acadia, I was elected president of the students’ union, and I can’t ever fully articulate how great an experience that was and how much it contributed to my confidence in jumping into provincial politics. A lot of students depended on me to make heavy decisions. I was always trying to work with my leadership team to find solutions to problems that would make the experience or the way of life in the college community better for everyone. I felt compelled to continue that work at a higher level after I graduated.

What do you consider your top goals between now and the next election?

My main goal is to make the people in my community feel that they have someone they can rely on, someone to inspire faith in government. I plan to urge more young people to aspire to qualified leadership roles. I think that if politics becomes a little more inviting, then these young people would step up, and that’s the kind of change I’d like to make.

Categories: HEBRON

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