Above: Xerxes Libsch '16 poses for a photo with his Advanced Chemistry classmates after being surprised with the announcement that he had won a $10,000 college scholarship courtesy of Nordstrom.
What began as an ordinary "B" Day for the 4A Advisement group quickly turned into something special for them and, in particular, their classmate Xerxes.
Not more than 10 minutes into Ms. Humora’s Advanced Chemistry class, the lecture was interrupted by a representative from Nordstrom's "Prize Patrol". The purpose of the interruption was the surprise announcement that Xerxes had won a very selective $10,000 Nordstrom scholarship. Also present for the surprise visit were Regis administrators and members of the Libsch family.
(Pictured: Xerxes Libsch receiving an over-sized $10,000 check from Nordstrom representative Ellen Greene.)
"At first I saw my mom and the Principal, and I thought something bad happened," quipped Xerxes. "But then I saw the big check. I was really surprised."
Xerxes was presented with an over-sized check, and cupcakes with Regis red sprinkles were served to his classmates to celebrate the moment.
The purpose of the Nordstrom scholarship is to help motivated students move one step closer to achieving their academic dreams. Since 1994, Nordstrom has awarded college scholarships to hard-working high school students from across the country. This year, Xerxes is one of 80 students—out of over 6,000 nationwide applicants—awarded a $10,000 scholarship. In addition to the scholarship, Xerxes also received a brand new MacBook Air laptop.
The three-stage application process for Xerxes began during his Junior year with an initial application and letter of recommendation. By the spring, Xerxes had submitted a number of essays as part of the second stage. The final stage—a Skype interview with a group of Nordstrom representatives—took place in August. The stress of coordinating that call was heightened for Xerxes, as he conducted the interview from Germany while visiting family.
The winners are being notified this fall, but only through unannounced "Prize Patrol" visits.
Above left: A brief moment of confusion turned to excitement as Xerxes Libsch '16 learned that he had won a college scholarship from Nordstrom. Above right: Flanked by his mother and uncle, Xerxes received a brand new MacBook Air laptop courtesy of Nordstrom.
Mr. Brendan Coffey wrote the recommendation letter for the scholarship application, but left Regis this past year to begin the process of entering the Jesuit order. "Mr. Coffey is a big part of this," said Xerxes. "He encouraged me and his effort helped me get here, and I really want to thank him."
Xerxes was certainly deserving of a recommendation for the the Nordstrom scholarship program. In addition to a plethora of academic awards at Regis, Xerxes is an Eagle Scout, a William T. Hornaday Conservation Medal Awardee, and president of numerous Regis clubs.
"When I heard that one of our students had received this scholarship, I wasn’t surprised to learn that it was Xerxes," said Mr. Joseph Amatrucola, the senior year Academic Advisor to Xerxes. "Among his greatest strengths are his unassuming personality, keen insights, and diversity of interest: from music and language to technology and economics."
Since 2013, Xerxes also has been working in a biomedical engineering technology laboratory at Columbia University as a lab assistant, where he has co-authored a research paper and is part of a team filing for a patent on an automated machine that braids nanofiber scaffolds.
"Xerxes is a tremendous Regian in his commitment to developing so many of his God-given talents," said Fr. Ian Gibbons, S.J., Assistant Principal.
"His pursuits of music, German language and culture, and science research have enriched our community. All of his awards merely confirm what we already know—Xerxes is an exceptional young man."
Xerxes, along with his uncle and mother, paused for a photograph with Ms. Kathryn Humora (his Advanced Chemistry teacher), Mr. Joseph Amatrucola (his Academic Advisor), Ms. Ellen Greene (Nordstrom representative), Dr. Gary Tocchet (Principal), and Fr. Ian Gibbons, S.J. (Assistant Principal).
Xerxes says he is humbled to be awarded this scholarship from Nordstrom.
"This scholarship means a lot to me. A big part of Regis is getting a great education for free, and when I get to college it won't be the same. Coming to the realization that the next step in my education won't be given to me for free means I will have to work to pay for it. This scholarship will help me in that process."
While Xerxes is still in the process of applying to colleges, he knows that he wants to study mechanical engineering. His focus is not on which college to attend, but rather what he can do with his education moving forward.
"What's great about Regis is that it doesn't teach you that the purpose of your 4 years is to go to a good college. The college you attend is secondary to your responsibility to be a man for others—someone who has faith, someone who is grounded intellectually. When we leave Regis, our destination has to be something bigger than the colleges we get in to. It's about what you achieve in your whole life."
Proudly displaying his $10,000 scholarship check, Xerxes poses for a selfie with Nordstrom representative Ellen Greene.