by Karen Roche
Eric Inoue displays one of
his many talents.
Harry Potter eat your heart out. This summer, there’s
a new crop of aspiring apprentices in town and they don’t
need any Hollywood effects to dazzle you. Fifty of the country’s
most outstanding high school students are participating in
the Shad Valley program at Memorial’s St. John’s
campus. The Shads are learning about science, engineering,
and entrepreneurship in a format that encourages creative
thinking and co-operation.
Eric Inoue is one of the participants. With his tousled hair
and laid-back look, he appears to be like most other teenagers.
Although once you talk to him, you quickly realize this 18
year-old has a special fire in his eyes. Born in Japan, he
now calls Quebec home. As a student at Bishop’s College
School in Lennoxville, Eric demonstrated extreme energy and
exceptional aptitude. He speaks French, English and Japanese;
played the flute and baritone saxophone in three bands; trekked
across the Swedish arctic; participated in the school’s
theatre program; played on various sports teams; presided
over the student body as head prefect; participated in an
exchange in Scotland; was involved in countless other extracurricular
and community service activities and maintained an A average.
“If Eric sounds a little too intense, a little too good
to be true, please know that he is also quite funny, does
great card tricks, and can juggle with fire,” said Illoma
Carr, Eric’s school counsellor.
“I hate being bored,” said Eric modestly. With
too much energy to sit still for long, Eric was excited to
find out that he was accepted to the Shad Valley program.
“What I was looking forward to most, was meeting 49
other people who shared my energy and wanted to give 100 per
cent to everything they do.”
“After six years and eight productions, I have spent
over a quarter of my life in the theatre,” he jests.
“Of the numerous teamwork opportunities, there are few
other “teams” in which every member is absolutely
dedicated to his or her part of the whole.”
You could argue that Eric often gives even more than 100 per
cent. Diagnosed with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder
last year, Eric achieved high marks in advanced placement
courses despite his disability. Over the years, he’s
developed his own coping techniques. “I don’t
want it to be an excuse for anything, it just means I have
to work harder.”
Over the past 23 years, the Shad Valley program has proven
to be a life-changing experience for senior high school students
interested in pushing their intellectual and creative capacity
to the limit. Following the four-week academic program here
on campus, Eric will spend another four weeks as an intern
with Bell Mobility in Montreal.
In the fall he will be attending the University
of Toronto to study chemical engineering. “I want to
be an astronaut. Astronauts have the most exciting job on
and off the planet. I believe we should set high goals for
ourselves and they don’t come much higher than that.”