A Community Development Officer at the Samuel-de-Champlain educational centre in Saint John, N.B., since 2010, Eric Kennedy is a creative and idealistic person who is deeply interested in developing human potential. Whatever he does, as a cultural worker, a volunteer in his community, a writer sharing his passion, he makes it his mission to showcase the talents and strengths of young people. For Eric, school is more than a building filled with classrooms; it is a microcosm of society overflowing with raw energy and talent. This idea is the driving force behind his efforts to position his community school in a way that makes it possible to build solid and mutually beneficial relationships with different partners and stakeholders in the region. He has started school entrepreneurship programs so that the youth he works with can put what they have learned to active use in extramural activities. He has also launched a foundation, the Fondation Samuel-de-Champlain, in 2012. Its mandate is to support the educational mission of the school through community partnerships and initiatives to contribute to a growing, thriving region. The foundation awarded its first post-secondary scholarship, in the amount of $1000, to a student from the school.
In fall 2012, Eric was part of the team which set up the CALE (Creativity, physical Activity, Leadership, Engagement) program, which is aimed at recognizing dedicated secondary school students and encouraging them to develop the basic skills they will need to stand out and make a difference in the ever-changing 21st century world. In May 2013, acting on his interest to offer young people in his community accessible role models and to create an interactive platform that would transcend the walls of the school, Eric launched a magazine called Chroniques d'Explorateurs. More than a magazine for graduates, this mappemonde aspires to highlight the positive efforts being made by partners, students and graduates of the school, to reinforce the idea that the world of education is undergoing a transformation, and that Acadie's future is being built in the here and now.