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Scholarships Help Couple Share the Spirit

June 2014


All it took for Heather Esplin to fall in love with BYU-Idaho was one tour. “I loved the spirit that could be felt all over campus,” she said. “I decided this was the only college I wanted to attend.”

Heather’s husband James felt the spirit on campus as well, but his decision to attend BYU-Idaho was a practical one - it was where he got accepted. “But as soon as I started attending,” he said, “I loved the smaller class size and how the environment felt more personal.”

“The first time we met was at ballroom dancing,” said Heather. “I was an avid dancer and went every Friday night. James’ roommate, who liked me at the time, brought him to the Friday dances.”

“It was a great release,” acknowledged James, “but I’m still a bad dancer!”

James and Heather both became English majors. James, from Sheridan, Oregon, chose an emphasis on professional writing. Heather, from Flower Mound, Texas, found her focus in creative writing.

“As a student, I was focused on time management and learning to be happy in the stage of life I was in,” Heather observes. “Now that I have graduated and stay at home with our daughter, Miranda, my biggest challenge is helping my husband finish up school and be with us. That can be a tough juggling act!”

James is quick to admit that getting an education is not always easy. Combined with hours spent in classes and doing coursework, he worked late nights as a custodial worker in the Snow Building and helped with the LifeSkills program. He tries to be the best husband and father he can.

BYU-Idaho scholarships made their education dreams achievable. “Scholarships brought the cost of my tuition down, which was helpful for earning money off-track back home,” said Heather. “I am grateful these resources are out there for college students.”

“Knowing that my scholarship stems from generous donations,” James admits, “makes me do the best I can because this is somebody else’s sacrifice.” He hopes to return the favor by teaching seminary for CES. “I am excited to help motivate high school students to stay true to the gospel. I know how it has blessed my life.”

“My dream,” added Heather, “is to be the wife, mother, and woman that God wants me to be. I also hope to use my skills, experience, and spiritual growth to bless my family and those around me. The creative expression I learned at BYU-Idaho helps me see life in a fresh and fulfilling way.”

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