SMHS Student Receives Nordstrom Scholarship

Gregory Eng was sitting in his San Marino High School classroom on Friday morning when the door opened and a crowd of people entered. The group included his parents, the school principal, the district superintendent and several others he had never seen before. Eng dropped his pencil as the room fell silent. This couldn’t be good. What had he done?
The anxious question was soon answered when Nordstrom Scholarship Program Manager Dottie Young stepped to the front of the room and presented Eng with a large cardboard check and a laptop. The amount on the check read $10,000.
“We are so honored to be here, Greg, and just want to tell you that you just impressed us so much with your passion and dedication for what you do and how you do it,” said Young to an exhaling Eng as his classmates burst into cheers and applause.
Eng, a senior, learned he was the recipient of a highly selective college scholarship awarded by Nordstrom to deserving high school students throughout the country. The captain of the SMHS speech and debate team was one of more than 7,000 students who applied for the grant last year. Once he was declared a finalist, Eng was required to interview with nine Nordstrom professionals who evaluated him via video conference. Ultimately, only 80 scholarships were awarded.
In his video interview, judges learned about Eng’s passion for speech and debate, about how he routinely arrives to school at 7 a.m. to ensure practices run smoothly.
“I’m really awestruck right now, but more than anything else I’m incredibly grateful,” said Eng, who wrote a personal statement and original essay as part of his application. “This opens so many doors for me and it’s just been an amazing experience overall.”
Nordstrom will pay out the scholarship in equal installments of $2,500 over four years to whichever college Eng ends up attending next fall. The hard-working student will likely have many choices, according to his college counselor, Mollie Beckler.
“It’s been my privilege to watch Greg since he started 9th grade [develop] into a young man who is so worthy of this honor,” said Beckler. “I’m just so impressed by not only his intelligence, but humility. Again, so deserving and I’m excited for him.”
Eng’s parents were invited to SMHS, but had no idea about their son’s accomplishment until minutes before the classroom announcement. His younger siblings, Alana and Nicholas, were excused from their classes on Friday morning to hear the big news.
“I can’t even put into words how excited I am for him and I’m so proud of him,” said Tracey Green, Gregory’s mother. “I just know he’s going to have a wonderful future and I’m grateful to Nordstrom. I’ve always been a big Nordstrom fan since Day 1, truly. They bring a lot of amazing values to their corporation and this is just an extension of that.”
Nordstrom, which is headquartered in Seattle, established its scholarship program in 1994. Eng was one of nine Southern California recipients this year. The company recently expanded its scholarship to Canada and Puerto Rico as well.
“I think it’s wonderful that Nordstrom participates like this with college kids,” said Henry Eng, Gregory’s father. “I think it’s wonderful that they have an academic-based scholarship. We were very happy to be recognized.”

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