By: Fred Altvater
On January 11th twenty Ohio high school seniors didn’t force themselves to get out of bed, grab their smart phones and head off to school like any other normal day.
Instead, the 16 young men and four young women, were excited to face the day. Donning their best sports coat, tie or dress, they made their way to Beechmont Golf Club, in Cleveland, for one of the most important interviews of their young lives.
Every year the Evans Scholarship Foundation hands out four-year, full-ride college scholarships to former caddies. Since 1930, when the first Evans Scholarships were granted to two former caddies in Chicago, over 10,600 caddies have received college scholarships, with over $400 million being spent to provide those college degrees.
As the final step to receive a college scholarship, these 20 teenagers were required give a short oral presentation about themselves and answer questions in front of a group of 100 Evans Scholarship supporters and alumni. A daunting task for 17 and 18 year olds.
These are not your average teenagers.
Yes, they are concerned about a prom date and the latest high school gossip. They also understand the importance of a solid education and have put in the hours of work to make it happen.
These kids have caddied at some of the best golf clubs in the state, learned to be on time, how to interact with adults and gain confidence in themselves.
They have attained the highest grade point averages in their respective high schools and served on various community projects.
These kids earned their full-rides
Have you ever caddied on a hot summer day? Have you ever tried to caddie for someone you didn’t know, but had to develop a quick understanding of their personal quirks on a golf course?
To be eligible to receive a scholarship, Evans Scholars nominees are graded on three essential criteria:
Every loop a caddie completes at his club results in a caddie card being filled out by the golfer and returned to the Caddie Master for rating.
Of the 20 caddies that were interviewed in Cleveland in January, all had a minimum of two-year’s experience and 150 loops. Many had four or five year’s experience, with over 250 loops.
The caddie not only has to please their golfer, but they have to satisfy the caddie master, as well as, favorably represent the club.
These nominees also impress in the classroom, as well as, in community service. All of the applicants had accumulated scholastic averages of over 3.25. Several had perfect 4.0’s and ACT scores above 27. One even scored 35, out of a possible 36.
Scholarship is only the Beginning
Once a caddie earns his college scholarship, the journey is not over, it has only begun. The two universities involved with Evans Scholars in the state, Ohio State and Miami, both provide separate housing for all Evans Scholars. There is a sense of family living and the residents help look out for each other.
Strict scholastic guidelines are required to maintain each student’s standing, but if a particular scholar is struggling, others in the house can be called upon to get them back on track.
The system seems to be working quite well.
Of the 965 Evans Scholars currently enrolled across the country, the cumulative grade point average is 3.3. Over 95% of all Evans Scholars graduate from college and 93% find work or attend graduate school, within six months graduation.
The Evans Scholarship Foundation has a goal to reach 1,000 students in universities by 2020. According to a staff member, they will reach that goal in 2019. A full year ahead of schedule.
This was my second experience in attending an Evans Scholars Selection Committee meeting and I have to say it never fails to impress me. The stories and accomplishments of these worthy applicants are guaranteed to move even the most jaded and provide hope for a brighter future.
If you are worried about the future of the human race or the country, after witnessing the interviews from these young men and women, who represent the absolute best of their generation, I think the world is in pretty good shape.
If you are a golfer and want to do something to help promote the game of golf, caddies and the Evans Scholars Foundation, visit their website at: https://www.wgaesf.org/site/c.dwJTKiO0JgI8G/b.6021361/k.8BED/WGAESF_Home.htm?kntaw44154=993936F646D542F3802EED48E96C5B8C
Make a donation and help future deserving caddies earn a college degree.