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@School: Max Nickbarg

Nov. 2, 2008 — Max Nickbarg, 16, is a youthful sailor with promise. Indeed, the St. John Yacht Club in August gave him a $500 scholarship to help defray the expense of off-island training and competitions.
"I like the competitions and being on the water," Nickbarg says.
An Antilles School junior who commutes daily to St. Thomas from his home on St. John, Nickbarg spent the summer sailing in regattas up and down the California coast. When he wasn't sailing, he worked at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach.
Over the summer, his placements continued to get better. Taking the helm of small Laser Radial sailboats, he was picked to participate in the U.S. Youth Championships in San Francisco. He placed 25th out of 38 racers.
At the North American Championships in San Francisco, he was 28th out of 85, but finished ninth out of a fleet of 50 at the Pacific Coast Championships in Monterey, Calif.
In Long Beach he placed 17th out of 92 and, sailing with St. Thomas residents Taylor Canfield and Tyler Rice aboard a Governor 21 at the U.S. International Match Racing Championship in Balboa, Calif., he finished sixth out of a group of 12.
The three are off next week to Charleston, S.C., to participate in a qualifying race for the Nation's Cup. The three will race on a J-22, a 22-foot sailboat.
While sailing is his passion, Nickbarg isn't neglecting school. He maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, and takes advanced-placement calculus and microeconomics. Additionally, his course load includes an honors class in British literature and advanced Spanish.
Nickbarg hopes to attend the prestigious Stanford University, an Ivy League school in California.
"When I get out I want to do something with business," he says.
He was born on Puerto Rico of St. John-based parents, Mary and Loren Nickbarg. The family soon returned home, and Nickbarg went off to preschool at Pine Peace School before starting on the daily trek to Antilles School.
"He's a very motivated, hard-working and self-possessed, mature kid," Mary Nickbarg says. "We're very supportive of his sailing because he puts a lot of effort into it."
However, his mother emphasized that getting good grades comes before sailing.
Nickbarg got his feet wet sailing when he went to a summer camp at the St. Thomas Yacht Club, where he sailed Optimists. He soon got his own Optimist, but when he outgrew it he moved on to a Laser 4.7 and then the Laser Radial. He sails on the Antilles School team.
Of course, if he manages to add about 15 pounds of muscle to his 160-pound, five foot, 10 inch frame, he'll be big enough to contend for the Olympics.
"I have to get a lot bigger and stronger," he says.
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