The recipient of The Outstanding Young LCCian Award must have demonstrated an achievement greater than what might be normally expected of a person his age and in his chosen field. His services are of considerable significance and importance to our community, whose brilliance and inventiveness are centered on inspiring the young minds to become a catalyst of change.
Nich Rhetz Perez, or "Kholai" as he is fondly called by LCCB High School Batch '98, is a natural born leader with a heart for service. As early as our high school years, he has demonstrated unconventional intelligence, which at that time, was regularly measured by scholastic marks. He was then the student government president.
He is currently serving as a Brother in Holy Cross College, Indiana. He devotes his career in inviting young people to explore religious life. At the same time, he is an independent filmmaker and a Communications and Film Studies professor at Holy Cross College @ Notre Dame, Indiana, and in the University of Notre Dame in the United States. He completed his Master’s degree in Communications from The University of Notre Dame in 2008, and his Masters in Fine Arts from the New York University in 2010. He has been teaching, traveling, and making documentary films around humanitarian organizations. He was a PH.D candidate in Cinema Studies at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, under the Photography and Human Rights Program.
Kholai is a private person who humbly exercises all his God-given and developed artistry in film making in honor of the Creator. He has this constant quest for learning and improving his craft as provided by his educational pursuits in the United States. Apart from film making, his passion for teaching has been embodied even up to his religious life as he encourages and inspires young men to explore religious life as a career. In a vocation website, he quipped that, “Religious life is like surfing, that you wait for the wave, grab your board and jump on it, believing that God makes the wave for you”. This simple and brilliant line encapsulates how he connects with the young people through visualization of faith in words young minds understand, as a teacher would and as an artist could.
Kholai has always been an epitome of excellence in his chosen craft. He currently has 79 short films created and uploaded on Vimeo that shows his passion for arts and film making. Apart from his artistic eye, his gift as a film maker has been utilized for a greater purpose than mere profit. His materials were often directed towards hope, religious, and service for the poor. He recently finished his feature-length documentary on the Monks in the Catholic Church known as BRO: Men with Hope, which was screened in various film festivals in North America in 2014. He has created short films for non-profit organizations (e.g. Water to Thrive) to promote their advocacies and procure funding for the organizations to help the poorest of the poor. He is the videographer, director, editor all rolled into one, and does all these without professional fee.