Olympic Medalist, Derek Parra speaks at Opportunity Scholars Gratitude Luncheon

Students, staff, faculty, and mentors came together last month for the Opportunity Scholars Gratitude Luncheon. This annual event focuses on personal and professional growth, inspiring renewed vigor for scholars to pursue their dreams.

Guest speaker and Olympic medalist Derek Parra discussed his journey as the first US Hispanic male to win a medal or gold medal at the Winter Olympics, sharing his five-step recipe for success.

  1. Passion. Use passion as your driving force. It is the fuel that propels us forward, allowing us to overcome obstacles and pursue our dreams relentlessly.
  2. Positive circles. “Surround yourself with good people,” Parra stressed, underscoring the significance of our connections and support networks. He emphasized the role of mentors, peers, and allies in fostering growth, offering guidance, and providing unwavering support during challenging times.
  3. New technology. In a world that’s rapidly evolving, embracing technology is paramount. Parra shared insights on leveraging technological advancements as tools for progress, highlighting their role in amplifying our capabilities and enhancing efficiency.
  4. Joy. Find the joy in the journey. Parra encouraged everyone to find joy in the process, reminding us that success isn’t solely about the destination but embracing the entire expedition.
  5. Power of belief. “Believe in your success,” Parra urged. He emphasized the vital role that self-belief plays in achieving our aspirations. Confidence in oneself is often the key differentiator between those who persevere and those who falter.

A fantastic afternoon wrapped up with students choosing a gratitude rock. This small inscribed stone reminds them to stay grounded and finish the semester strong.

“The Gratitude Luncheon wasn’t just a meal but a feast of inspiration,” said first-year student Benita Anmontha. “It reminded us that success isn’t just about reaching our goals but cherishing every step of the journey. We must embrace our passion, surround ourselves with positivity, and believe fiercely in our potential.”

The goal of the Opportunity Scholars Program at the Eccles School is to support and enhance the educational experience of first-generation business students as they progress toward graduation. For more information, visit Eccles.Link/opportunity-scholars.

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