In 2021, twelve high school graduates have been selected to the First Tee College Scholarship Program based on academic performance, length and involvement in First Tee programs, financial need and commitment to volunteerism. This class of scholars includes aspiring engineers, accountants, teachers and environmental activists, all of whom will be attending stand out colleges and universities, including Dartmouth University, University of Pennsylvania, Boston College, University of Indiana and other top institutions across the country. The Scholars also represent diverse backgrounds from communities across the First Tee network. The class is comprised of eight females and four males. The Scholars’ average GPA is 4.19 on a 4.0 scale and hold an average of 1,422 out of 1,600 on SAT and 31 out of 36 on ACT. Five of the Scholars will play on their college’s golf team.
First Tee College Scholarship Program supports selected alumni throughout their college career in an effort to further their life skill development and mentorship. The need and merit-based program provides scholarships up to $5,000 per year, renewable for up to four years of college admission. The program also provides professional development workshops, access to internships and full-time employment placement post-graduation. One of the key factors of the program is pairing Scholars with a dedicated adult mentor who will help encourage and guide them throughout the four years.
Meet the Scholars
Claire Alford, First Tee — Central Coast
Santa Clara University
American Mathematics Champion, AP Scholar with Distinction and American Indian/Hispanic National Merit Scholar are just a few of the amazing individual achievements Claire has attained in her life. What is more impressive, though, is Claire’s drive to help her community and create outlets that impact others. Of the many clubs and funds Claire has created, one was Birdies for Baskets. This was an initiative by Claire, in which she played 65 holes of golf in a single day raising more than $1,000 providing food baskets for under privileged families. Graduating with a 4.56 GPA, Claire plans to major in Public Health and Biology with a goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.
Marion Caldwell, First Tee — Four Corners
Pursuing a future in teaching, Marion is passionate about passing down the knowledge she has obtained throughout her life to the children within her community. Marion will attend Dartmouth University where she will major in both English and History. Throughout high school, Marion achieved numerous academic honors such as national honor society and earning a cumulative 4.39 GPA. When asked who her dream golf foursome is, Caldwell said a close friend, someone to teach and someone to learn from. Marion’s enthusiasm for both teaching and learning aligns perfectly with the goals and values of First Tee. She is a 10-year participant at First Tee — Four Corners and is the first participant to achieve ACE certification, the highest designation in the First Tee program.
Natalie Cao, First Tee — Greater Houston
University of Pennsylvania
Earning a cumulative 4.37 GPA, Natalie strives for greatness in both the classroom and on the course. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Natalie will play on the women’s golf team and will major in economics. She has used her passion for economics to become a financial advisor to help her community, working as the sole junior cashier and assistant treasurer for a bi-monthly book sale, raising more than $12,000 each year for her library. An eight-year participant at First Tee — Greater Houston, Natalie has also been a First Tee Junior Mentor since 2015 making a monumental impact on many through both the game of golf, and her desire to help others. On her goal of becoming a financial advisory, Natalie thinks it’s very similar to mentoring kids at First Tee as she’ll give counsel to those who seek her assistance and knowledge, focusing on financial goals instead of golf goals.
Molly Castle, First Tee — Tennessee
University of Tennessee Knoxville
As a First Tee — Tennessee participant for seven years, Molly has achieved ACE certification, the highest designation in the First Tee program, and used that experience and her love of golf for helping others within her community. She is an active volunteer for Second Harvest Food Bank and the Tennessee School for the Blind, where she assists those who are visually impaired learn the game of golf. Molly is a triplet and while her siblings have decided to continue their golf careers in college, Molly has chosen to focus on her passion to study agriculture and her drive for continued academic success.
Malisone Chanthapanya, First Tee — Fort Worth
Texas Wesleyan University
A 12-year participant at First Tee — Fort Worth, Malisone is the youngest participant to ever achieve ACE Certification in the chapter’s history. She serves on the Chapter Junior Advisory Committee and will play in the 2021 First Tee National Championship. With a cumulative 4.0 GPA combined with her success on the course, Malison plans to continue her golf career at Texas Wesleyan University while double majoring in computer science and accounting.
Quincy Crawford, First Tee — Greater Washington D.C.
University of Cincinnati
Being a part of the First Tee — Greater Washington D.C. for a decade, Quincy has been able to make an impact in his community using both his love for golf, and his passion to help others. Quincy has plans to study Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, but the impressive academic achievements do not stop there. Fluent in four languages – English, French, Italian, Russian – Quincy earned a cumulative 3.98 GPA while being on the honor roll all four years throughout high school. He was named captain of his high school golf team and plays bass in his school’s advanced orchestra. The First Tee Scholarship Program will empower him as he pursues his goal of using his Aerospace Engineering degree to create fuel-efficient aircrafts, lessoning the overall carbon footprint and possibly slow the rate of climate change.
Rebecca Jones, First Tee — Indiana
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
With goals of one day working on environmentally friendly engineering projects, Rebecca will be studying environmental engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Holding a cumulative GPA of 3.39, the classroom is not the only place Rebecca exceled, as she was a three-sport athlete (Basketball, Golf, Track) in high school earning all-conference accolades in each. Being a member of the First Tee — Indiana for six years and achieving multiple medals as a competitor, Rebecca has been able to use golf as both an outlet to give back and succeed individually. Not only thriving in the classroom and athletic fields, she is a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo and a five-year president of the Orchestra Council. Rebecca is most excited about using her degree to earn a career focusing on land remediation and implementing new systems to reduce pollution, ultimately striving to make the area she grew up in a cleaner and greener place that will benefit the entire community.
Josh Lendach, First Tee — Triangle
University of Cincinnati
Through both his hard work in the classroom and on the golf course, Josh has earned the privilege to play golf at the University of Cincinnati. Josh has been a part of the First Tee — Triangle for 13 years and continues to use golf as an outlet to help others. He’s been a junior coach and mentor for the younger First Tee participants, raises money at an annual charity golf event benefiting the Nicklaus Children’s Foundation, and when schools closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, he founded Golf Gives Back with his fellow high school golf teammates to collect food for those in need. Hoping his passions for golf and environmental/atmospheric sciences collide, Josh wants to study how different environmental and atmospheric conditions could threaten the sustainability of golf course maintenance for future generations.
Meghna Mazumdar, First Tee — Connecticut
Scoring a 1430 on her SATs while achieving a 4.12 cumulative GPA, Meghna will study Business Economics at Boston College in the fall. Her passion for investing in the stock market started at a young age which was featured on the Today Show when she was 13. Since 2011, her investment portfolio performance has consistently beat the S&P 500 index and she donates part of her investment gains to various charities and a First Tee — Connecticut Scholarship. Her love for investing and golf collided in 2016 when she was selected as winner of the Wells Fargo Succeeding Together contest, earning her the opportunity to play with PGA TOUR player Rory McIlroy in Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am. Meghna is a 13-year participant at First Tee — Connecticut and her love of the game led her to be the founder of her high school’s first girl’s golf team. She was also recently elected as one of eight people from across the nation to serve on the First Tee’s Participant Advisory Council.
Benjamin Nganga, First Tee — Tennessee
University of Indiana
Benjamin’s excellent drive to succeed in the classroom has achieved him a 4.46 cumulative GPA earning him the prestigious Fry Scholarship to attend the University of Indiana Kelly Business School. Benjamin’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Kenya and could not be prouder of Benjamin becoming the first person in their family to attend college, with sights on a double major in Finance and Computer Science. Benjamin’s hard work was not limited to the classroom, as the seven-year First Tee — Tennessee participant was his high school golf team’s captain and in 2019 was named first team All-Metro. One of his future passions is to develop a non-profit that helps with the expenses of youth sports.
Kaleb Palm, First Tee — Central Florida
Florida Atlantic University
Kaleb is a six-year participant at First Tee — Central Florida whose passion and drive has helped him earn selection into many of First Tee’s national mentoring and empowerment events. Kaleb has earned a cumulative 4.69 GPA and PGA TOUR Champions player, Skip Kendall, says that “Kaleb has always been very positive and never lets adversity get in his way.” The son of a pastor, Kaleb uses what any adverse experience has taught him to help in many community outreach programs, such as helping the local food pantry in feeding less fortunate families.
Borina Sutikto, First Tee — Silicon Valley
Santa Clara University
With plans already in place to study Accounting & Information Systems while playing golf at Santa Clara University, Borina is passionate about the game both on and off the course. Earning both Junior Golf Association of Northern California Player of the Year honors along with the Girls Low Scoring Average Champion, Borina’s golf skill and love for the game is second to none. The trait that separates her from the pack is her passion to grow the game by helping others. She is a member of the Women’s Nine Hole Golf Association, an organization that helps promote the game of golf and inspire more women to play it. Having earned a 4.25 GPA, the nine-year participant at First Tee — Silicon Valley gives back to the younger participants as a junior coach and mentor.
First Tee College Scholarship Program is made possible by donors and corporate partners who stand behind the program and First Tee’s mission, including Astros Golf Foundation, Peter A. Bonanni Scholarship Fund, Chevron Corporation, A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, Timothy W. Finchem Scholarship Fund, Paul and Ruth Flowers, Morrell Studios, Charles Schwab, TruGreen, Edward and Lisa Vaughan and Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund.