JACKSON TWP. Jackson High School 2019 graduate Brock O’Neill was recently awarded an Evans Scholarship for up to $120,000 over three-years to attend The Ohio State University, where he is majoring in civil engineering.
The scholarship is awarded to 26 students in Ohio who worked as golf caddies. It provides full housing and tuition.
His final interview before receiving the scholarship was in front of a panel of 50 to 60 people at the Inverness Club in Toledo in January. About two weeks after the final interview, he received his recipient letter in the mail.
O’Neill was attending Ohio State when he received the letter about the scholarship so his mother had to facetime him when she got the letter at their home so that he could be part of hearing the results. With that one letter, he found out he was one of the 26 students who received scholarships.
“The panel asked all of the candidates about what caddying meant to each of us, about our academics, about plans for college and about our personality,” O’Neill said. “The questions were lighthearted to help lessen the tension of each candidate. Plus, we all had some preparation to help us get rid of our nerves.”
O’Neill said he did have his hopes up that he would receive one of the scholarships.
“I thought my interview went well and I knew I had a good academic record. I was beyond ecstatic and thrilled to hear I got it and I was a bit surprised. I’m currently attending OSU and living on campus so my mom facetimed me when she opened the letter so that I could see it firsthand,” O’Neill said.
While he has been a caddy at the Brookside Country Club in Perry Township since he was a freshman in high school, O’Neill is not a big golfer. He said he was into golf when he was younger but then started playing tennis and basketball more often. He said he did know a lot about the game of golf and that helped him be a good caddy. Meeting all of the golfers, many of whom were business professionals, made a lasting impression on him.
“I knew someone when I was in middle school who was a caddy and I thought it might be a good job to apply for,” O’Neill said. “I talked with my mom and decided to try it out. I really enjoyed it, it’s not super stressful and I got to meet a lot of people.”
According to the Evans Scholarship organization, each caddie has a unique story to tell, reflecting the scholarship’s four selection criteria: a strong caddie record; excellent academics; demonstrated financial need; and outstanding character.
Students will begin college in the fall of 2020 as Evans Scholars, with recipients awarded to either The Ohio State University or Miami University. The Evans Scholarship is valued at an estimated $120,000 over three or four years.
O’Neill also was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Canton Lincoln High School Alumni Association. His grandparents have been members of the Association for more than 30 years.
“I recommend that students apply for as many grants as they can to help offset the cost of college. They should try to apply to as many as they can find. I also recommend that high school students consider caddying as a summer job,” O’Neill said.
He has a long list of people he wants to thank for helping him through high school and preparing him to enter college.
“I want to thank the Western Golf Association who sponsored this grant. Also want to thank Brookside Country Club for giving me the opportunity to caddy and to participate in applying for the grant. The Caddy Master there sent a letter of recommendation too. I attribute my success in academics to Jackson Local Schools because the teachers there go beyond the call of duty to prepare students for secondary education.
“My family has been my rock; they’ve supported me and encouraged me to go beyond my comfort zone. Those are things I’ll carry forward with me the rest of life. Receiving these grants has been a great opportunity for me and I don’t plan on squandering it in any way,” O’Neil said.
The Western Golf Association, headquartered in Glenview, Ill., 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 scholarship program for caddies.
Currently, a record 1,010 caddies are enrolled in 18 universities across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 11,050 caddies have graduated as Evans Scholars since the program was founded by famed Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr.
“Each of these deserving Evans Scholars epitomizes what our Program has been about since its creation in 1930,” WGA Chairman Kevin Buggy said in a published statement. “Their dedication, hard work and sacrifice is humbling, and we are honored to be able to help them pursue their dreams.”
Scholarship funds come mostly from contributions by 32,500 golfers across the country, who are members of the Evans Scholars Par Club program. Evans Scholars Alumni donate more than $14 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. To learn more about the WGA and ESF, visit www.wgaesf.org.