From Ethiopia to an Evans Scholarship – the journey of Tadu Dollarhide 

by Tom Cade, Editor 


It’s a long journey from the small Victorian town of Port Townsend – way out on the northeast tip of the small Quimper Peninsula – to the north end of Seattle, where Seattle Golf Club is located.  

But it’s an even longer journey from a small village in Ethiopia to the doors of opportunity of a college education at an American university.  

On February 14, 2024, in the ballroom upstairs in the clubhouse at Seattle Golf Club, Tadelech “Tadu” Dollarhide went through the final interview process conducted by the Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholarship Foundation, standing in front of a room full of Evans Scholarship alums and WGA directors to tell her story.   

The four-year Evans Scholarship is worth over $125,000. It was a big day for Tadu, and the culmination of a long walk to a foreign land, learning a foreign game.  

For three years, Tadu, now a senior at Port Townsend (Wash.) High School, caddied at Seattle GC.   

“Yes, I got up at 4:00am, in time to catch a ferry at Bainbridge Island or in Edmonds, and was at the golf course by 7:00am,” she said. “I wanted to make sure I got to the course early.” Sometimes she would carpool, sometimes she had her neighbor drive her to the ferry, and sometimes she would drive herself. 

In the summers, it was a little easier. She was enrolled in the Seattle Caddie Academy, living in the Evans Scholars House adjacent to the University of Washington campus with other young high school-age caddies. From there, they would go together to Seattle Golf Club to work their caddie jobs for the day. During her final three years of high school, Tadu worked over 100 loops as a caddie.  

In the summer, Tadu (front row, second from right) stayed at the Seattle Caddie Academy at the Evans Scholars House at the University of Washington campus during her three years working as a caddie at Seattle Golf Club.

Tadu first learned about the game when she was a sophomore in high school. “My mom had read an article about the Evans Scholarship program, that I could earn money at caddying and maybe even earn a college scholarship.” 

Her neighbor Wanda took her to the Port Townsend Golf Course, a 9-hole city-owned facility that is managed by a group of community volunteers, and that was her first experience walking onto a golf course. 

“To now be part of this golf community is an amazing experience,” she said. “I used to be in the background, hiding behind everyone, but being a caddie made me learn to communicate more.” 

She was no wallflower in high school – captain of the soccer team, lettering three years in cross-country, Nation Honor Society for two years, and selected for Homecoming Court.  

Born in a rural village in Ethiopia, Tadu never knew her mother. For her first few years she was raised by her widowed father, but when she turned five years old her father felt he could no longer provide for his large family, and hoping for a better life for Tadu he gave up for adoption. She was sent to an orphanage, where she began to learn to speak some English. Nine months later, in 2010, she was adopted by an American family.  

“It was such a culture shock, getting onto an airplane with a woman who had just adopted me,” she recalls.  

She and her adoptive mother have since returned to Ethiopia twice, so that Tadu can keep a connection with her own roots and culture. In 2018, on her second trip back, she became connected with the ReachAnother Foundation, a Bend, Ore.-based organization which provides life-saving medical surgeries for children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, specifically for babies in Ethiopia.  

It was this experience that has led Tadu to want to study echocardiography and ultrasound treatment.  

“To see the work that they do, the good that they can do, I decided this is something I wanted to be involved with,” she said. 

To see the good that they can do…. That is a good journey.