Jacques Fournet is our residential life coordinator, overseeing and working to improve the on-campus life and experience of our students. A lot of that responsibility includes supporting and working closely with our house parents and staying actively involved in all things impacting the residential life experience here at Eagle Rock.
Jacques spent 13 years in college — six years studying petroleum engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering and civil engineering at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Then, after six years of coaching basketball and facilitating new student programs, Jacques discovered he wanted to teach, which led to seven years at Colorado State University (CSU) where he studied mathematics, education and counseling. Jacques finished a K-12 mathematics certification, and obtained a masters degree in education, and another masters degree in counseling in 1999.
Here’s the rest of his story:
Eagle Rock: What did you do prior to coming to work for Eagle Rock?
Jacques: I actually worked for Eagle Rock in the Wilderness Department for nine years as a wilderness instructor and student orientation coordinator. Then in June of 2009 my wife, Alana, and I got married and a year later we served in the United States Peace Corps in the Philippines for three years. When we returned to the states I was offered the opportunity to come back to Eagle Rock in the newly created position of Residential Life Coordinator.
Eagle Rock: What attracted you to Eagle Rock?
Jacques: My first step onto Eagle Rock property was on a tour in April of 1994. I was enrolled in a teacher education program at CSU and heard about this innovative school that had just opened in Estes Park.
I knew enough about myself to know I wouldn’t be happy or work well in a normal public school so I came up to visit. Eagle Rock had just 16 students at the time — one had a rainbow Mohawk — and the Lodge hearth was still covered in plastic because it wasn’t finished being built. If I remember correctly, the Human Performance Center was a mound of dirt.
Anyway, the philosophy, the way the school was set up, the students being served, and energy of the place all attracted me to ‘The Rock’.
Eagle Rock: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Jacques: At this point in my life, spending time with my family is one of my top priorities. Alana and I adopted a baby girl in January of 2015. We were at the birth and have been with this beautiful little girl that the universe brought us ever since.
I also love to veg out and watch movies and I still play music every now and again. I’ve been in multiple bands ever since high school and the two bands I’m currently in are Farmer’s Daughters [that’s a group comprised of myself, Alana, her two sisters, and her father], and my Cajun folk rock band that’s been together in one form or another since 1999, called Bayou Folk.
Eagle Rock: What’s your all-time favorite Eagle Rock success story?
Jacques: I’m infinitely and continually impressed with what young people do with their lives here at Eagle Rock School. I don’t know if I could have done, learned, reflected, contributed, and developed myself like they do when I was their age.
I think a former student named Julien is the owner of my favorite Eagle Rock School success story. Julien’s road to graduation was a long one and he was amazingly resilient and persistent. His first experience on our Wilderness Orientation Course did not work out as planned and he chose to leave the course.
Within three months, he returned for a second Wilderness Orientation Course and Julien excelled (he was committed to personal growth). I watched him mature, pay attention to and consistently work to improve his behaviors, learn to make friends, work on his leadership skills, and continue to push himself academically as well as personally.
When I left in 2009, Julien was well on his way toward graduating and had become a respectable young man and effective leader within the Eagle Rock community. Julien’s path is a reflection that the youth that come to Eagle Rock School have the heart and courage to make positive improvements in their lives and in the communities they live in.
Eagle Rock: What’s one thing not many people know about you?
Jacques: I worked on horseback for 16 summers in Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona. My last six summers I worked with mules and took people on three- to 10-day pack trips into the San Juan Mountains down in Durango, Colorado.