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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

July 10, 2003

Talented to the extreme

Eric Inoue displays one of his many talents.
Photo 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.”




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Next issue: July 24, 2003

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