The View from the Top
Drawing on his creativity, Leo Linbeck has grown from comedian to craftsman. Walking in another person’s shoes has given him all the right perspectives.
by Leo Linbeck, Class of 2008
St. Thomas High School ‘12 • Notre Dame ‘16
Some of my fondest life memories take place at Presbyterian School. I’ll never forget our class musical, Oklahoma! Looking back, I would say PS taught me to discipline myself and be accountable for my actions, both good and bad. I also discovered some of my favorite hobbies and gained an incredible network of friends that I still keep up with after all these years.
The knowledge I gained from my classes at Presbyterian continues to help me to this day. Reading Hamlet and other Shakespearian texts in Mr. Hanold’s English class prepared me for my English major at Notre Dame. Learning about World War I in Mr. Adams' history class was incredibly helpful for my thesis on trauma in World War I. My Spanish was leagues ahead of anyone else in high school and college because of Señora Leyva and Señora Hanhausen. And of course, my math skills increased exponentially with Mrs. Olmstead’s math class. All of these incredible teachers helped provide a learning base that has been keenly instrumental as I’ve continued my studies through the years.
At Notre Dame, I was fortunate enough to be placed in Keenan Hall as a freshman, and I remained a Keenan Knight for my four years at ND. One of the programs I participated in was the Keenan Revue. The Keenan Revue is a campus-wide comedy show that has been put on by the members of Keenan for 40 years. We have over 1,000 attendants each year. There is live music, comedy skits, and dancing, and we spend months in advance preparing for the show. I have participated every year as an undergrad at ND.
First, I was an actor in a few skits. My second year, I was the Program Director and Revue Band guitarist. My main responsibility was to create the program for the show with advertisements and acknowledgments. I also played guitar with the Revue Band, playing classic song covers like “Stacey’s Mom” and “Sugar, We’re Going Down.” As a junior, I was the Art Director and created the logo for the Revue and designed t-shirts. As a senior, I once again played in the band and acted in a few skits. The Revue represents the hard work and dedication I put in, and as the event becomes more and more popular each year, I love seeing that hard work pays off.
During my time at ND, I also participated in a service and community-based learning course involving experiential learning in the Appalachia region of the United States. I spent my midterm break on a service-learning immersion project with one of the ND community partners in Appalachia. Our group drove to a small town in West Virginia, where we helped re-build damaged houses. This included repairing and remodeling damaged walls, doors, floors, and ceilings, as well as insulating houses. I saw firsthand the extreme poverty prevalent in the Appalachian communities. Many houses had, at the most, two rooms with little to no insulation. I learned about people’s challenges with sustainability, food justice, housing, education, energy, or a combination thereof. I was struck by the kind of poverty that exists in one of the most prosperous countries in the world. The inequality in earnings and quality of life is astounding. I am convicted that more needs to be done to help the working poor throughout the U.S.
I am double majoring in economics and English. Next year, I will attend the University of Texas to pursue a Masters in Science of Finance. I plan to work at an investment banking firm after graduation, but I eventually want to work for my family’s business, Linbeck Construction.
My advice to current PS students is to keep working hard. Presbyterian School is challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. You’re so lucky to be at one of the best schools in Houston, and your opportunities will be endless as a result. In order to make the most of these opportunities, you have to work. Every success story from Presbyterian School happened because the individuals worked hard to achieve their success. As my PS friend, Calum Mitchell, always says, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”