Local students caddie for chance at scholarship

Local students Raquel Garcia and Michelle Olguin are two of only 40 high school females from around the country to be selected to participate in the sixth annual Caddie Academy hosted by the Western Golf Association.

For seven weeks beginning in June of each year, the selected girls are given the opportunity to caddie each day at one of 13 golf clubs along Chicago’s North Shore. During that time, the girls live at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois.

The attendees who complete the three-summer program will become eligible to apply for the Evans Scholarship. The Evans Scholarship provides a full, four-year tuition and housing grant to some of the top universities in the country.

Each year, dozens of female students are selected from communities which are considered to be economically disadvantaged and more than 90 percent of the participants who attend are minorities.

Michelle Olguin

This year, approximately 45 attendees returned from last year’s program in hopes of being awarded a scholarship at the end of their third year as well.

Along with a financial need, scholarship applicants must display strong character and maintain outstanding caddie and academic records.

Since 2012, 23 participants have been awarded the Evans Scholarship.

Mike Maher, who oversees the program, said that “it has been an absolute treat having Raquel and Michelle participate in the program and both are making positive headway in the program.”

Both Michelle and Raquel learned about the program through their service at the Guadalupe Center. Both students tutor at Pinecrest Elementary School in Immokalee.

“I get to share the same room with people from all over the place and experience a bit of their culture.” Michelle said. “Although my mom was scared, both of my parents were happy that I came to Chicago.” Michelle said that she plans on attending Northwestern University to study film or digital arts.

Raquel said that the financial help and the opportunity to be part of the scholarship program has been a blessing for her and her family. Raquel plans on attending Marquette University and wants to become an anesthesiologist. “It’s very exciting to meet new people. I love it here but I already miss my family. I want a higher education and I hope that I get the scholarship.” Raquel said.

The Caddie Academy is funded by a private donor and proceeds from the annual Women’s Invitational golf outing also benefit the academy.

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