Shayne Rebbetoy’s lasting impact


Courtesy of Kathleen Harrison

Shayne Rebbetoy left a heart-shaped hole in the AWHS community after he transitioned into light. January 25, 2020, the AWHS community was struck with the news of Shayne’s passing. He was a light in the community anyone could recognize, and no matter if you were friends with him or not, Shayne had an impact on anyone that knew him. Shayne’s mom, Lisa Hudson, never expected how many more faces would show up in her life after Shayne transitioned.


— Sarah Wulff

“The crazy thing for me was after he transitioned, how many people… showed up and talked about how Shayne impacted them, and half of these people I have never ever heard of before,” Lisa said.
Shayne’s light spread far and wide, but also had a great effect on those close to him. His friends feel that Shayne’s friendly, extroverted behavior is what brought them together. For senior Max Gehm that connection stays true.
“Kind of how all of us became friends was because Shayne brought us into the group because he was just so friendly,” Max said.
Shayne connected all of his limbs to whoever he could reach, eventually pulling them all back in together. Senior Sarah Wulff, believes that Shayne was the energy that all of their friends needed to keep them together.
“I just remember that he completely balanced the energy out, he was like the perfect compliment to everyone in the group and he just made every situation so funny and so perfect,” Sarah said. “He always made everyone laugh and he always made light of every situation.”
He not only had a way of making everyone feel included and comfortable, but he made sure to support his friends and always be there for them.
“We would talk about everything and he would always support me. I would always look forward to after school, playing Terraria with [Shayne],” said senior Kyle Coogan.
Right before the COVID-19 pandemic began in their sophomore year, the loss of a classmate was the last thing that the class of 2022 expected. Within a week of his transition, Lisa and her husband Jack Rebbetoy organized a memorial service in honor of Shayne; a place where Lisa began seeing new faces. Looking back, Lisa is glad to have had the memorial when they did, as COVID-19 canceled events throughout the ensuing couple years.
Lisa felt that sharing Shayne’s story is important in preventing a similar incident from ever occurring again.
“The importance of… really wanting to share Shayne’s story with all of the students and all of his friends and hopefully that it will touch some kids to say like, okay i’m not going to take an enormous dose of something, or I’m really going to have a friend there to sit with me,” Lisa said. “I know how challenging it was for Shayne’s friends who knew what he was doing.”
The night of Shayne’s passing, he was home experimenting with psilocybin or magic mushrooms, with Lisa and Jack upstairs.
“That night that it all went down, Shayne was home and he was trying mushrooms for I think a second or third time and researched out the ‘God’s dose’ of mushrooms, which is a really enormous like 10 gram dose of mushrooms,” Lisa said. “And you’re supposed to see God and you’re supposed to understand all the secrets of the universe.”
After finding out Shayne had taken something, Lisa planned to spend the night with him finding a way to help him through his trip. After a period of time where Shayne was not responding to Lisa, she and Jack decided that it was best if they took him to the hospital.
“I’ve got him in my arms and I go like, Jack, we need to take him to the hospital like this isn’t normal, he’s not responding,” Lisa said. “I get up to put my sweats on and Jack’s getting dressed, and Shayne’s like five feet away from me and all the sudden he pops up and I look over at him and he darts down our stairs and he’s like ‘I’ve got this, I’ve got this, I’ve got this.’ And I run down the stairs and as I hit the bottom of our stairs he’s turned left and he’s running off of our deck… and he runs off the deck with his arms wide open.”
After Lisa’s experience with losing her mom, she had practiced the ability to communicate with those who have transitioned. Lisa and Jack were able to meet with a psychic medium the day after Shayne’s transition where they began to practice communicating and their new relationship with Shayne.
“For you, he’s showing rainbows and that he has this crazy connection that you’re able to talk to him from where he is,” Lisa said. “Everytime you see rainbows that will be his sign for you and know that he is always with you because you were always with him.”
This comes as no surprise because, to many, Shayne was seen as someone agnous to a rainbow as he always wore a welcoming smile. Lisa remembers all the times she had to warn Shayne about overusing the phrase “I love you” to his friends, and to that he would respond, “but I really do mean it.”
“The thing that I take away from Shayne now is to try and be present and enjoy every moment and you always hear that ‘Don’t take it for granted’ but I don’t take anything for granted and that’s kind of a part of being in grief as well too is that the real challenge is to live in the present and hang on to the memories as well too,” Lisa said.
Shayne seemed to never give up an opportunity to be around his friends. Senior Datis Shoushtary remembers when Shayne and a larger group of their friends began playing indoor soccer, and although Shayne had never played before and wasn’t particularly great at the sport, he was motivated by the time he would get with his close friends.
“I don’t think Shayne actually liked soccer itself that much. I think he just genuinely wanted to spend time with us and do it anyway he can even if that means being bad at soccer,” Datis said.
By many of his friends, Shayne was known as extremely generous. They always remember him buying them food, even though they never asked.
Lisa remembers Jack building longboards that Shayne and him would ride down their hill, where Shayne’s energy was represented in fearlessness, speeding down their steep hill.
“Way at the top of our hill, Jack built these street luges… when Shayne was like four years old, he would get on these crazy longboard, skateboard, luge and go like 25 mph down our street with his hands up going around the corner, fearless,” Lisa said. “He just had that joy and that spirit.”
Shayne had a nickname of ‘bottlerocket’ that he carried since he was younger, representing that fearless mindset and the ability to do anything.
“That was such Shayne’s thing, like explosive happiness. One of his nicknames was bottle rocket because that was just the energy he brought from birth all the way on,” Lisa said.
His energy seemed to never stop. With his friends, online gaming, working, Shayne was nonstop, no matter what he faced, he was up for it.
“He wouldn’t let fear stop him from doing anything,” said Shayne’s friend Max Ghem. “I dont know if he was like a risk taker but, he just thought it was stupid to let your fear get in the way of your life.”
Senior Jasmine Zand, one of Shayne’s close family friends, noticed how Shayne lived for himself and didn’t let others’ judgments stop him from doing something for himself. He was able to ignore others opinions while still caring about those around him and including them in all his activities.
“He really lived every second of his life and didn’t really let anything stop him,” Jasmine said.
Senior Max Henzl, a long time friend of Shayne’s, feels that Shayne’s energy rubbed off on him. Shayne’s welcoming and open energy was something Max noticed and felt affected him.
“I think Shayne taught me to be accepting of others, he was just so open and friendly and I’m kind of a shy person and he helped me learn to be friendly to people and just be accepting of people no matter what they were like because that’s just how he was,” Max h said.
Having the experience to continue communicating with Shayne after he transitioned, Lisa began to show Jack as well how to communicate and have Shayne in their lives from the spiritual world. One way those who have transitioned communicate with loved ones in the physical world is through music, something Shayne does often through the 48-hour Spotify playlist that he created several years ago.
“As hard as it is to not have Shayne here physically anymore, we’ve definitely adapted to this new relationship with him. And the relationship with him in spirit which is all about electricity and music and he has this crazy 48 hour spotify playlist that is just bananas,” Lisa said. “For Jack, it’s the song Dancing in the Moonlight, that crazy 70’s song, it shows up everywhere.”
The class of 2022 will hold Shayne’s memory in their hearts as they take on their next steps after high school, remembering him with every purple colored and rainbow item they come across.