Congratulations to our 2019 Scholarship Winners!

This year First Tee – Denver was able to award five $10,000 scholarships with the help of our wonderful sponsors!

Injury Finance Scholarship: Paige Ayers

The First Tee is like a second family to me. I first started taking classes through the First Tee with my sister when I was four years old. We always had fun spending our afternoons in the sun learning the game. But the best part of the First tee is the people. I have met some of the kindest most genuine people through this program and I cannot imagine where I would be without them. The First Tee gave me two of my best friends Lauren and Will. Lauren has the brightest laugh that I’ve ever heard. She’s so passionate about everything in her life whether it be her friends her job or the bachelor. Will is equally as amazing. I have never met someone with such a big heart. He cares so deeply about all his friends and can always find the good no matter how dark life gets. I have learned so much from his strength and positivity and I’m so glad he was put into my life by this program. he adults this program attracts are also magnetic. My Coach Ron Otsuki has taught me so much more than just how to golf. He taught me that its more important to have fun when you play than to win and is always there to talk about the real world when we need to.

O’Sullivan Law Firm Scholarship: Annie Seier

I was so blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in The First Tee of Denver program. I have learned so many important and valuable lessons from The First Tee of Denver, that have carried me far beyond my time spent in the program ever could. The First Tee of Denver established a sense of perseverance in me, as I was trying something new that I had never learned before. It taught me the value of hard work, and never giving up, no matter how terrible I thought I was doing. It taught me sportsmanship and how to act not only as an athlete, but as a human being of integrity. The First Tee of Denver also gave me an opportunity to get to know and connect with other people and kids that were outside of my usual circle of people I knew and was comfortable around. It gave me the opportunity to meet new people, and develop my social skills as well. It gave me new friendships, with people that I still remain in contact with to this day. The First Tee of Denver has meant so much to me. Not only has taught me the basics of golfing, and has established a foundation for me to continue to improve in my golfing abilities. My grandfather loved golfing. It was one of his most favorite hobbies and pastimes. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was very young, and before he ever had the opportunity to teach me how to play. Thanks to The First Tee of Denver program, I was finally able to learn what my grandfather was never able to teach me. It is a small connection I now know that we share. And thanks to what I have learned through this program, I am able to play golf with my great aunts and uncles. Golf has served as a way to connect me even closer to my family. Going back to the scholarship, I really cannot emphasize how much this scholarship means to me, and how much it will help in the span of these next four years. I will be attending Regis University this fall, and will be studying in the pre-nursing program continuing on to nursing program beginning in my junior year. This scholarship will help to fund tuition costs, as I hope to graduate in the spring of 2023. I hope to become a nurse, with an emphasis in pediatrics. I have a passion for helping people, and I know that getting a nursing degree will make it possible for me to turn my passion into a career.

Wellshire Golf Community Scholarship: Brigid McNamara

 I first started playing golf my freshman year of high school, and I instantly fell in love with the sport. My golf coach introduced me to the First Tee and told me about the many opportunities that they have for High School students. I quickly joined the Players Club and applied for and was accepted as a Junior Coach. From the first moment that I have been involved with the First Tee it has had nothing but a positive impact on my life. The First Tee gave me my first job opportunity, in which I learned the importance of teamwork, comradery, professionalism and paying taxes.  The First Tee not only gave me my first job but,it also provided me with many skills that have helped me with my other endeavors. The reinforcement of the Nine Core Values throughout the program have also strengthened me in my abilities to apply them in my daily life. The leadership and training sessions that they have for employees have enabled me to pursue my dreams with confidence, and  I will continue to do so as I prepare to apply for college next year. The First Tee has meant so much to me that I cannot even begin to express the gratitude that I owe this organization. It has given me many opportunities to work alongside fantastic individuals- First Tee staff, peers, and participants – who have impacted my life in a variety of ways. This organization is truly life changing, and I can honestly say that because of the many lessons that I have learned here, at the First Tee, I feel prepared to go out into the world and pursue my dreams. The many positive experiences that the First Tee has given to me have shown me that there are truly jobs out there in which you can combine your passions and your work. In fact, as a Junior Coach, because you are enjoying yourself, the company of those you are with, and the lessons that you are teaching the children, it doesn’t even feel like a job, it feels like a privilege. There is not a day that I woke up and wasn’t excited about going to work because I knew that I was going to be surrounded by people who were passionate about sharing the game of golf with others, and the many life skills that the game of golf gives us. I am so happy to be a part of this extraordinary, supportive, and caring community.  I would not be where I am today if not for the support of everyone here, so thank you!

Ralph L. Smith Foundation Scholarship: Morgan Mullholland

The First Tee of Denver has made such an impact on my life from the time I was a young girl taking lessons right here at Wellshire Golf Course.  It’s crazy when I think of how it has all come full circle. My dad used to take me to the little, three-hole golf course just for kids, and I remember playing with those special rubber balls! He noticed a posting for lessons taught by The First Tee of Denver, and that’s how I became involved with the program. One of my instructors was an older girl at my school named Elizabeth Schilling.  Along with all of the other instructors, she made learning the game of golf a fun experience on a Saturday morning.  I remember learning the fundamentals of the swing, how to grip the club and how to line up a shot.  But more importantly I learned perseverance, good sportsmanship and just to have fun because no matter how well you master the techniques of golf, it doesn’t matter unless you love playing the game.  The First Tee of Denver not only taught me the rules of golf, but the rules of life as well.  It taught me how to introduce myself to golfers at the start of a game, which helped me become more outgoing with people both in and out of school.  It taught me to be confident in my swing, and to make a plan before I hit the ball.  I now know how to think before I act, and plan ahead in other aspects of my life.  It taught me to be respectful when others are swinging; to cheer them on when they hit an amazing shot, and encourage them to keep a positive attitude when a shot doesn’t go as planned. It taught me to count a whiff, even if no one saw it, just as I now follow the rules in my school and my community.  My grandma has a funny magnet on her refrigerator that says, “I hate golf. I hate golf. Nice shot! I love golf!” I’ll remember that funny magnet when I’m away at college and remember that just as in golf, I may have some tough times, but to persevere and know that the next hole or the next day may be my best one yet. Thanks to The First Tee of Denver Scholarship, I am now able to attend Colorado State University, where I plan to get a degree in education and become a teacher.  I hope to teach my students the same values that The First Tee of Denver has taught me. Perseverance, sportsmanship, and honesty along with respect, confidence, responsibility and integrity.

Girls in Golf Scholarship: Cassidy Christian

I have been in The First Tee since kindergarten. I love the entire program! I’ve come through the lessons up to the Advanced Birdie level and I do Players Club during the summer, along with working as a Junior coach for the past three years.  I have learned so much from TFT. When I was younger, I was extremely shy and didn’t talk, but The First Tee has taught me how to reach out and shake peoples’ hands, look them in the eye and introduce myself. The confidence I have gained growing up in this program has been life changing for me. When I was younger, I would always look up to the coaches and volunteers and think they were amazing. I still think that! I was amazed that the instructors knew my name the next week, even more amazed they still knew my name when I’d come back after a 5 month winter break! Our First Tee of Denver instructors are the best! They inspired me to try out for my high school team as a Freshman. I was on Junior Varsity as a freshman and I’ve made the Varsity team the last two years. I had one moment of glory with a hole-in-one at a high school tournament last spring I love being part of a team, even having freezing, cold practices and 8 am tee times in April. I’ve had two great national experiences through TFT. I was one of 28 First Tee Participants selected from around the country to attend the Outstanding Participant and Leadership Summit at the biennial National Network Meeting in Orlando, Florida last fall. It was inspiring! I learned the importance of having a go-to-team and being a leader in my community. We also got to meet George W Bush; he’s an honorary chair member of The First Tee. Part of becoming one of the Most Outstanding Participants was creating a project to help my First Tee chapter and my community. The project I created was to increase girl participation in The First Tee. I planned a Girl Scout event where we had 18 Brownies come and learn about golf and earn their “Play Fair” badge. I had the teamwork of TFT coaches, my high school golf team and my Girl Scout troop to help lead the little girls in an evening of golf fun. I was also selected for the John Deere Leadership and Golf Academy this past summer in Atlanta. There were 24 girls from across the country attending. We learned about college applications, how to find a fitting career, and the importance of networking. Plus, we played golf!  I had two birdies on the East Lake Golf Course…this is where the legendary Bobby Jones played and where Tiger Woods, this past fall, had his long time coming win! TFT has so many opportunities for their kids and for girls.