American Dreaming: Son of Guatemalan immigrants driven by work ethic

Published 12:14 am Saturday, March 31, 2018

LAPLACE — With ambitions to one day lead an influential tech company, Edgar Folgar of LaPlace strives to make his parents proud by keeping their American Dream alive.

Edgar E. And Lidia Folgar grew up in poor sections of Guatemala, confined to a town with little more than a church and grocery stands.

Edgar Folgar shows off the winning poster he designed for Black History Month.

Seeing the promise of opportunity in America, the two eventually relocated to Louisiana, built a family and took on grueling jobs to set their children on a path to success.

Folgar recalls his father coming home from a 12-hour shift, taking a two-hour nap and getting called back in for another long shift directly after. He said his own strong work ethic results from the lessons his parents instilled.

“My parents weren’t in the best place in life, and they always told me I should surpass them, persevere and put hard work into my studies to be successful,” Folgar said.

Heeding his parents’ advice, Folgar has worked hard to seek out prestigious scholarships, finishing top 20 in the state as a Posse scholarship semifinalist.

He’s currently the only student in St. John the Baptist Parish identified as a semifinalist for the National Beta Club scholarship, which will award a select group of finalists between $1,000 and $15,000.

Winners will be announced the first week of May.

Next year, Folgar will begin his journey at Louisiana State University, where he’ll study computer engineering with a possible double major or minor in graphic design.
He takes inspiration from CEOs of big companies like Amazon and Apple.

“I want to follow in those leaders’ footsteps by becoming an entrepreneur or founding my own company,” Folgar said. “I can see myself becoming president of a large company, leading society forward through advancing technology.”

His leadership style would be most similar to that of Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, Tesla and Neuralink. Musk stands out in his distinct caring for society and the people he serves, according to Folgar.

Folgar is also inspired by recently deceased visionary Stephen Hawking’s scientific mind and ability to thrive against all odds.

“Living proud and living strong allowed him to expand everyone’s minds,” Folgar said. “He was truly a great man to society and one of the world’s brightest geniuses.”

Pursuing graphic design is important to Folgar because art has always been a passion.

Originally interested in traditional sketchbook art with pencils, pens and markers, Folgar became interested in digital media after being gifted a computer drawing tablet. With the help of a friend, he won first place in a Black History Month poster design contest.

Lidia Folgar believes her son’s values and commitment to excellence will help him achieve his dreams.

“Everything is possible, and if he wants to reach his goals, he just has to work hard,” Lidia Folgar said. “I think he’s doing everything well. He has good behavior, really pays attention to everybody and follows rules. He studies hard for everything.”

Above all, she is proud of her son for being a good person.

“He makes me proud of everything he does,” Lidia Folgar said. “He’s a really good boy. Good son, good student, good brother, good everything.”

Through Interact Club, Folgar provides community service to a local nursing home. He’s volunteered hours at the St. John Parish Animal Shelter through Beta Club and on his own time, cleaning kennels and bringing the dogs out for exercise.

Folgar has been an active Beta member since sixth grade and has competed in state conventions in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

In History Club, Folgar took a stand for his beliefs in a project titled “Refugees welcome here” by painting the Statue of Liberty with a historical quote referencing how the U.S. was founded by immigrants.

Another project, Voices of Our People’s History, involved reenacting speeches written to fight societal norms and demonstrating how people of different cultures molded America into a land of opportunity.

Folgar is currently focused on raising his ACT composite from a 29 to a 30 or higher.

While applying for the Posse scholarship, Folgar’s ACT “super score” was calculated as a 31, combining his highest scores of 33 and his lowest score of 27 between tests.