Jesuit High School's Miguel Coste '19 and Trace Nuss '19 have been selected as a recipients of the prestigious QuestBridge Scholarship. The highly selective national program will provide them with a full four-year scholarship to the University of Notre Dame and Princeton University, respectively.
Just over 1,000 high school seniors nationwide in the Class of 2019 were chosen as QuestBridge Scholars, from more than 16,000 applicants. Coste and Nuss are the 2nd and 3rd Jesuit students ever to receive the QuestBridge honor, following Notre Dame freshman Tommy Pham '18.
The acclaimed QuestBridge program was founded at Stanford University and expanded over the last two decades to now include 40 of the most selective colleges and universities in the nation. QuestBridge provides a college match and full scholarships to exceptional students from lower-income backgrounds to acclaimed universities such as Chicago, Dartmouth, Duke, MIT, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Yale.
"My life was forever changed on December 3rd when I read, 'Congratulations, you've been matched to Princeton,''' Nuss said. "I was in the library and fell to my knees in disbelief and thanksgiving."
Said Coste: "I am beyond grateful and blessed to have received this scholarship. It will fund the next four years of my education, provide me with opportunities I couldn't have ever dreamed of, and is the first step in the process of becoming a role model for my family."
In addition to excelling academically, Nuss and Coste have been true 'Men for Others' at Jesuit. Nuss is a National Merit Semifinalist who has taken 13 AP courses thus far at Jesuit, has an unweighted perfect 4.0 GPA, and scored 1550 on the SAT. He also has been active in Key Club for four years, has traveled to Europe for World Youth Day, and taken mission trips to South Carolina and South Dakota.
Nuss has demonstrated a passionate commitment to serving others less fortunate, notably via Special Olympics and Super Stars Tampa bowling league. He is a certified coach for Special Olympics and is the league coordinator of Super Stars, handling all operational aspects of the 77-participant league for athletes with physical and cognitive disabilities.
"Trace is nearly unparalleled in his dedication to service," said Fernando Rodrigues, Jesuit's Director of College Counseling. "He is truly energized by service work, and is seriously dedicated to serving his fellow human beings, especially those with developmental disabilities. He has deep empathy and follows a call to serve."
Among his many awards and scholarships, Nuss has earned the H. Norman Schwarzkopf Leadership Award from the West Point Society, a national scholarship from the U.S. Bowling Congress, and was named to the Dexter High School All-American Bowling Team. Last summer, he was a Notre Dame Leadership Scholar and a Knight Scholar at Boys State.
"The founders of QuestBridge, Dr. Michael McCullough and Ana Rowena McCullough, try to aggregate the resources and tools for their scholars to build meaningful lives to not only help themselves, but others," Nuss said. "I will seize this amazing gift they've given me and continue to pay it forward in my own service helping others.
"I have the opportunity to continue my education at one of the finest institutions in the nation, and I will be equipped with the tools needed to continue living my life in service of others."
Coste has been an extraordinary student at Jesuit as well. He too has a perfect 4.0 GPA, a 1510 SAT score, and is an AP Scholar with Distinction. On six occasions, Coste has received First Honors in Class Achievement (and Second Honors several other times), meaning he earned the highest average in a class for a semester, a particularly notable achievement considering his AP-loaded schedule filled with other top students at Jesuit.
A standout wrestler and team captain, Coste will be part of the first graduating class at Jesuit to complete the school's three-year Engineering program. Coste also works part-time as a sales representative to help his family pay bills. He has been a stalwart with Jesuit's Key Club, an altar server since he arrived at Jesuit, and also is a peer minister.
"Miguel's ability to persevere, excel, and stay humble make him one of the most exceptional young men I have encountered in my almost 20-year professional career in education," Rodrigues said. "He accomplishes his tasks and does not seek to be noticed. Only when he has graduated will most people be amazed at his life story."
Coste is a first-generation American – his mother is a Cuban refugee and his father endured tremendous hardship coming to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic – and will be the first in his family to attend college.
"Although education was not the most significant part of my parents' or siblings' lives, my parents have stressed the importance of education to me since my birth," Coste said. "From their teachings, I internalized that if I want to succeed, I must strive to be the best in school.
"Earning the QuestBridge Scholarship has demonstrated that no matter what hand you're dealt in life, you can always make the best of your situation through hard work, determination, and perseverance."
The QuestBridge application process is extensive. The 16,000+ applicants are narrowed down to about 3,000 finalists, who then submit additional supplements to several colleges. In the end, Coste and Nuss were two of 1,044 nationwide chosen for the honor.
Click here for more information about the QuestBridge program.