‘My village’ a blessing | AspenTimes.com

‘My village’ a blessing

Dear Editor:

I’m a senior at Aspen High School, class of 2012, and I have the honor and privilege of being awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship. I am aware that this honor and the successes I have had in my life are attributed to my parents, my peers and my Aspen community members.

I would like to recognize the people in my life and within my community who have been invaluable to my success, working tirelessly on my behalf. It’s been said that “it takes a village to succeed,” and in my case, this is my village:

Kathy Klug: My college counselor and my Gates Millennium Scholar nominator introduced me to my future college, Southern Methodist University, at the college fair. Always in my corner, teaching me, directing me, exposing me to the endless possibilities of my potential. Reach, reach, reach …

Susan Walters: My other college counselor, who is always positive and willing to help. She helped me decipher my college-essay ideas and supported my chosen path. Always has a moment to share, help and smile, saying, “You’ll find your college fit.” Susan, I found my fit.

Randy Placeres: Great chef, my boss and a great mentor. Also my Gates Millennium Scholar recommender.

Aspen school teachers: Taught me the joy of learning.

Helen Schemmerhorn: She spent countless hours helping, teaching me to become a writer who listens and receives his inspiration from his heart. Write from my heart, edit with my head. Her convictions in me gave me courage to follow and listen to my voice. Write, rewrite, edit and revise my essays.

Zibby Schwartz: She gave up her own time in order to see me succeed and wanted nothing in return. A cool mom who helped me see me in my words and didn’t try to change my ideas.

Grandfathers: Manuel Salinas and Leo Cidzik both taught me the value of learning from my mistakes, and that we only have one shot in life and we need to make it all count. Heritage, honor, family always!

Grandmother: Phyllis Cidzik: She is all grandmother, hugs, kisses, treats.

Godmother: Carolyn Nihon, who is my second mother and has always been there for me. No matter what comes, she loves and believes in me. How lucky am I to have her.

Tiffany Mullen: My other second mother, who is always there for me to talk to. Lets me know how proud she is of me. Oh, and she trusts me to drive her cool car. I hit the jackpot – three moms

Grayson Cidzik: My little brother, all 6 foot, 1 inch of him, always looking up to me and supporting me.

Dad, Jerry Cidzik: He always tells me to breathe, every moment counts – every game, every win, every loss. He is always there; his voice is in my head and heart. “Integrity is a choice, honor is a gift you give to yourself. No one can give you honor or take it from you.”

Mom, Jamie Cidzik: She tells me every day that it is now “my life,” and what I do with my life is up to me. She asks me every day, “Have I told you I love you today?” “No? OK, I’ll tell you later” LOL … She’s my rock!

I would also like to thank everyone else in my life for being there for me and guiding me in my journey. With the Gates scholarship in hand and all the opportunities in my future, I now embark on my next journey, into the world of finance specializing in asset management at SMU in Dallas. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this community and thank everyone who helped me along the way and those who believed in me.

I did it, with “my village” behind me. How blessed am I, son, brother, grandson, friend. Thank you.

Courtland Cidzik


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