As a first-generation college student, Shawna Zhou of Seattle always knew that education was her most important tool to success.
“Growing up relatively poor in China, my parents never had the opportunity to attend college, so they hope that I can transcend the confines that they were faced with,” says Shawna, who attends Lakeside School on scholarship. “Knowledge is power in the sense that an education can help to launch futures, open doors and realize dreams.”
Shawna’s own dream of attending college will now be coming true, thanks to a summer job as a caddie at Seattle Golf Club. This fall, she’ll attend the University of Washington as a recipient of the prestigious Evans Scholarship, a full, four-year housing and tuition college scholarship awarded to golf caddies.
John Marks, from Bothell, was the other finalist also awarded the Evans Scholarship following a selection meeting on Feb. 18 at Seattle Golf Club. A caddie at Inglewood Golf Club in Kenmore and Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, he’ll also attend the University of Washington this fall.
Evans Scholars are chosen based on demonstrating a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character. The scholarship is valued at more than $80,000 over four years.
The Washington selection meeting is one of more than a dozen meetings the Western Golf Association is holding across the country through the end of March, awarding 250 Evans Scholarships in the process.
The WGA, headquartered in Golf, Illinois, has supported the Chick Evans Scholarship Program through the Evans Scholars Foundation since 1930. One of golf’s favorite charities, it is the nation’s largest privately funded, full tuition and housing scholarship program.
The Washington State Golf Association has been a longtime supporter of the Evans program, administering the annual fundraiser Evans Cup of Washington, as well as providing office space for the WGA’s local representative, Bill Moses.
“Based on their excellence in the classroom and their service to their schools and communities, there is little doubt that Shawna and John have earned this life-changing opportunity,” said John Kaczkowski, President and CEO of the WGA. “We welcome them to the Evans Scholars family.”
Currently, 870 caddies are enrolled in 18 universities across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 10,000 caddies, including over 220 from Washington, have graduated as Evans Scholars since the program was founded by famed Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr.
“These caddies have worked tirelessly to put themselves in a position to receive this life-changing opportunity,” said Craig Bruya, a lead WGA Director in the state of Washington and a Washington Evans Scholars Alumnus. “Their stories of perseverance, hard work and sacrifice are inspiring, and we look forward to watching them grow over the next four years.”
Scholarship funds come mostly from contributions by more than 26,000 golfers across the country, who are members of the WGA Par Club. Evans Scholars Alumni donate more than $8 million annually, and all proceeds from the BMW Championship, the third of four PGA TOUR Playoff events in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup competition, are donated to the Evans Scholars Foundation. Visit www.wgaesf.org for more information.