Idaho teen supports his family while maintaining a 3.9 GPA

TWIN FALLS — Atirekk Sanasan came to Twin Falls from Guam seven years ago in search of a better education.

“My father wanted an improved life for us,” said the Twin Falls High School senior.

He’s taken advantage of the American education opportunity by excelling in school. He owns a 3.90 grade-point average, will graduate high school with 21 college credits and will receive a scholarship to Dixie University in Utah.

But the move put a financial strain on the family and Atirekk has been helping out. His mother works 40 hours a week in customer service, but that isn’t enough to support the five family members living in a two-bedroom apartment. Atirekk works 25 hours a week as a cook at a burger restaurant. Half of his paycheck goes towards expenses such as rent and groceries.

“Life has been tough,” Atirekk said. “I’m trying to do all I can for my family.”

This lifestyle is what motivates him to become a surgeon.

“I can’t wait to graduate college, get a good paying job and support my mom,” Atirekk said.

His mother moved her five children to Idaho when Atirekk was 10 years old because they had family in Twin Falls. His father still lives in Guam and works as a pharmacist.

“I want my mom to live an easy life,” Atirekk said. “She works very hard for my family.”

He dreams of a future in the medical field as a cardiothoracic surgeon and hopes to give his mother “the life she deserves” after the sacrifices she has made.

“It’s all paying off,” Atirekk said. “I got accepted to college and that is a big deal in my family.”

Atirekk is four weeks away from high school graduation and is still deciding on Dixie University. He is waiting to hear on acceptance from his dream school Idaho State University.

“I know Atirekk sees the big picture of how a strong education can open doors for him and help him reach his dreams,” said Gala Bortz, a math teacher at Twin Falls High School. “He is willing to work hard to make his goals a reality.”

Fun facts about Atirekk Sanasan

  • Favorite drink? Water
  • Favorite sport to watch? Football 
  • What are the first three songs on your current music playlist? “Goosebumps” by Travis Scott, “Night We Met” by Lord Huron and “Tunnel Vision” by Kodak Black 
  • You just got a free plane ticket to go anywhere. Where are you going? New Zealand 
  • Three things you can’t live without? Family, food and friends 
  • Favorite emoji 

Andrew Reed

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