Meet the 2023 Scholars

Get to know the hopes, dreams, and talents of this year's winners.

Erik G.

Undergraduate Recipient

"Write a letter to your younger self during a key moment in your life addressing one or more of the following: words of encouragement, lessons you have learned and/or challenges you have overcome."

Dear Erik, Congratulations on graduating from High School! Be proud of the way you have pushed yourself in every aspect, despite time limitations due to regular respiratory treatments or hospitalizations. Although you may have been stuck in a hospital bed, your future was never stuck there with you. I commend your desire to better yourself and others around you. Concerning the future and the wide array of possibilities that are now before you, I want to remind you that YOU are in charge of your life. In his poem Invictus, William Ernest Henley declares, “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” Each line illustrates how to take control of your life and how to set a trajectory for a brighter and better future. First, don’t worry about the odds. When the chances of reaching your goals seem small and out of reach, don’t give up. A low percentage of success is just an opportunity to push you towards greater excellence and precision. No matter how strait, how thin, or how seemingly impossible the future may be, you are the determining factor of your destination, not the size of the destination itself. Second, CF does not impose limitations on your future. Your past failures, inadequacies, and weaknesses do not determine your future possibilities. The finish line is not based on your starting line. Third, you are the master of your fate. Your attitude plays an immeasurable role in the quality of your future. As you focus on the variables that are actually in your control, and positively move forward past the variables outside of your control, you will be able to progress smoothly from disappointment to disappointment, failure, to failure, and most importantly from success to your next inevitable success. And finally, always remember that you are the captain of your soul. Cystic fibrosis does not control, determine, or limit your value or capabilities. You are in charge, and cystic fibrosis is just a passenger along for the ride. So act, and do not be acted upon. Choose, and don’t let your circumstances make your choices for you. I hope you can ingrain each of these four principles into the way you make decisions. Many times, I have been faced with the options of choosing the harder and more rewarding path, or accepting the excuse the CF offered me and going an easier route. Study hard for finals, or give up because I’m staying in a hospital? Put in the extra effort during respiratory treatments to stay healthy, or become lax in my medications? As I have chosen the harder option, my horizons have broadened exponentially. So Erik, I encourage you to not worry about the odds, increase your commitment to excellence, maintain a positive and growth centered attitude, and seize control of your fate. Act, and make your future come to you. I’m so excited for you, you got this!

Erik G.'s Artwork

Erik G.'s Achievements

  • High School Valedictorian - 2020
  • Organized local STEM themed fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Blackfoot ID 2020
  • 3 time State Qualifier in Lincoln-Douglas debate 2017-2020, 1 time State Qualifier in Impromptu speaking and Panel discussion events 2019-2020
  • Captain of High School Lincoln-Douglas debate - 2017-2020
  • Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars, Summer NASA Academy - 2019
  • 2 years as full-time volunteer for Church-based Spanish ministry in Tucson, Arizona 2021-2023
  • Organized, Advertised, Marketed, and Taught free English classes to Spanish speakers, Arizona 2021-2023
  • Zone Leader, monitored key performance metrics of 25 volunteers and set goals for improvement, Arizona 2023
  • National Honor Society - 2017-20120
  • Young Men's President, Youth Church program, Blackfoot Idaho 2019-2020
  • 1st Chair French Horn, 2nd Chair Jazz Trumpet, 1st Chair Marching Mellophone 2016-2020