Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


FAU student leaves behind a legacy and a long list of academic achievements

An FAU student was not in his Wednesday night class last week, and he’s leaving class early again this Wednesday. But the student, 24 year-old Eric Ledermann, is not skipping class to hang out with friends or because he’s not taking college seriously. Ledermann already has three degrees.

He’s leaving class early at FAU to head to Tampa and interview for medical school. While there, he is also going to check up on his “legacy,” the non-profit organization he started with his fraternity there more than two years ago, and is looking for a fraternity to pick up the program in South Florida.

Of his many achievements, Ledermann is most proud of the organization he started with his fraternity while he attended the University of South Florida. When Ledermann was getting one of his degrees, a professor assigned a project to “Leave a Legacy.” Since the project was open-ended, Ledermann asked friends and fraternity brothers for ideas.

Ledermann then spoke to a friend who worked in a juvenile corrections center and decided he was going to create his legacy. Ledermann and a friend, Bobby Martin, then created Students Teaching Adolescents Reasons for Success, or STARS. The program goes into juvenile detention centers to reach out to 14- to 18-year-old boys.

Ledermann and his group bring the boys into sports, put them on teams, and give them a sense of purpose. In addition, they learn important qualities such as time management, respect for the community, and job skills. STARS also got computers donated to the detention centers to teach the troubled youths Internet skills.

STARS even arranges for NFL players to spend time with the boys. Of the program, Martin says, “Eric and I worked hard to invent something that we felt needed to be created, but it is extremely rewarding and a great opportunity to get out in the community. The program makes you understand just how fortunate you are, in so many ways.”

One of the many successes of the STARS program is a boy who was a repeat violent crimes offender; he had outbursts, fits and would attack others. They began to give the boy incentives, such as playing basketball with the rest of the boys for every week without an outburst.

Eventually STARS paid for him to take the GED, which he got on the second try. The boy also wanted to be a barber, so they set up an internship for him at a barbershop, where he was later hired. Ledermann explains, “It’s good to get through to these kids who would otherwise have nothing and no future. These boys are not in jail yet, and they’re at an age where they’re still impressionable and can get their education.”

Ledermann moved from New York to Tampa when he was 18 to attend the honors college at the University of South Florida. While there, he earned two Bachelor’s degrees and a Master’s degree. For now, Ledermann is a non-degree seeking student at FAU.

He is currently concentrating on getting into medical school to be a neurosurgeon. He would like to extend the STARS program to the FAU campus and eventually make it national.

Ledermann visits Tampa every couple of months to check on the organization that Martin is currently running. Once he is accepted into medical school, Ledermann plans to seek out fraternities or organizations on FAU’s campus to expand his legacy.

Ledermann says of the program, “It’s really a life-changing, eye-opening experience. It’s more than your run-of-the-mill volunteer work. You’re a role model, you’re a teacher, but most importantly, you’re their friend.”

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