Three The First Tee of Benton Harbor Participants to Receive Scholarship

The First Tee of Benton Harbor recently awarded three participants the 2017 The First Tee of Benton Harbor Scholarship. The three participants selected were Lizzie Stolte, Andriejus Gaska and Darwin Bowman.

Lizzie Stolte currently attends Lake Michigan Catholic and plans to attend the University of Michigan this fall.

“The First Tee of Benton Harbor has given me the opportunity to not only improve my golf game, but to also learn how to set reasonable goals for myself, persevere through challenges, and live by the Core Values,” said Stolte. “It has also given me the opportunity to make new friends.”

Stolte plans to study engineering at the University of Michigan.

“I know that studying to become an engineer along with training to be a U.S Navy officer will be very difficult. Any assistance that I am able to get will be a huge help for my family and I. In the future, once college is over and I have started my career, I hope to give back to the many programs like The First Tee in any way I can just like how they helped me in the past in any way they could.”

Stolte offered up some advice for younger The First Tee of Benton Harbor participants.

“To the younger participants of The First Tee, spread what you have learned around. There are only so many mentors and coaches in the program, and they can’t teach alone. The more people that encourage kids to live by the Core Values and practice the Life Skills, the better impact The First Tee program will have. I was able to do this last summer when I got to be a student mentor during the PLAYer classes every week.”

Darwin Bowman currently attends Lakeshore High School and plans to attend Grand Valley State University this fall.

“At Grand Valley State University I plan on majoring in engineering. I also plan on applying for internships during college so that I will be most prepared for the engineering field. Because of the experiences I have gained at The First Tee of Benton Harbor, I will be able to fully accomplish these goals.”

Bowman grew up in The First Tee of Benton Harbor program.

“Growing up in Benton Harbor I’ve been involved in many different community activities. One of the programs that really stuck out to me over the years was The First Tee of Benton Harbor,” said Bowman. “As a child I always kept to myself, rarely opening myself up to different people. However, by participating in The First Tee of Benton Harbor, I was not only able to learn how to golf, but I was also able to meet new kids I hadn’t known before.”

“I knew next to no one when I came in for my first day, but by the time the program was over I was well acquainted with the different members of the summer program,” said Bowman. “Being in The First Tee taught me how to step outside of my comfort zone and expand my horizons so that I could do things that I may have never done before.”

Andriejus Gaska currently attends Lake Michigan Catholic and plans to attend Michigan State University this fall.

“I will use this scholarship to further my education and pursue my career dreams. I plan to attend Michigan State University this fall to obtain a degree in environmental sciences.”

Gaska plans to positively impact the environment as he moves forward in life.

“I know my college education will prepare me for a successful career that will directly impact America’s precious environment. The First Tee of Benton Harbor has shaped me into the young man I am today by establishing good habits, core values, and effective golf instruction in my life,” said Gaska. “The great memories, people, and experiences through my years are permanently engrained in my mind.”

Gaska has been a part of The First Tee of Benton Harbor since 2012.

“The opportunity to participate in the First Tee of Benton Harbor has been a special and unique experience that I’m grateful for. Beginning in 8th grade as an inexperienced golfer, the First Tee has built the foundation for my high school career and future golf journey,” said Gaska. “The ability to practice and play at the prestigious Harbor Shores is incredible.”

“The First Tee of Benton Harbor has served as a positive outlet to play golf while meeting others who are also passionate for the game. The Nine Core Values and Nine Healthy Habits have positively influenced my life on and off the golf course.”

To apply for the scholarship, students must live and demonstrate The First Tee Nine Core Values and The First Tee Healthy Habits, be a member of The First Tee of Benton Harbor for at least two consecutive years, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, and volunteer in the Benton Harbor community.

Along with our scholarship award winners, Ron Griesinger was selected as our volunteer of the year.

“Our program is heavily reliant upon our volunteer base,” said Ebon Sanders, Executive Director. “We are fortunate to have what we feel is the best group of volunteers in Southwest Michigan, and Ron is the cream of that crop.”