DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., August 16, 2010 - The LPGA Foundation has announced their annual scholarship award winners for 2010. Seven high-school seniors were selected to receive the Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship, Dinah Shore Scholarship and Marilynn Smith Scholarship. Criteria for each scholarship vary, but all candidates must demonstrate outstanding academic performance, community service, leadership skills and active participation on their golf team.
Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship
Established in 2006, the Phyllis G. Meekins scholarship is awarded at the value of $1,250 to a woman from a recognized minority group who plans to study full-time and play golf at an accredited college or university in the United States. The 2010 Phyllis G. Meekins scholarship winner, Sooji Choi, embodies everything this scholarship requires and more.
Choi is a 2010 graduate of Santiago High School where she played on the boys' golf team her freshman and sophomore years, due to the lack of a girls' varsity golf team. It wasn't until Choi decided to step up and lend a helping hand that a girls' varsity golf team was formed. Choi played an integral role in the team's formation by helping the coach plan the team's schedules and by recruiting players. She flourished on the links playing as the team's No. 1 her senior year and received the team's MVP honors as well as medalist honors at the 2008 SCPGA Summer Desert Tour Championship.
Her accomplishments in the classroom are also impressive, graduating with a 3.98 GPA. While at Santiago High School, she was awarded the Academic Varsity Letter, Principal's Award, Academic Excellence Award, 2010 Annual Riverside County Student Academic Award and the AP Scholar with Distinction Award. In addition, she was the Secretary of the Future Business Leaders of America and Historian of the Santiago Band Pride Council.
Choi has been accepted to Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she plans to study biology. She will also enroll in the Dual-Degree Program in Engineering at Dartmouth College to earn an additional degree in engineering. She aspires to attend law school to become a patent attorney.
The namesake of the scholarship, the late Phyllis Galloway Meekins, was a talented amateur golfer from 1950 to 1981, when she became a member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals. On that foundation, Meekins started PGM Golf Clinics, Inc. in 1973 for youth ages seven to 18 years old, helping to teach thousands of children life lessons through the game of golf.
Meekins was inducted into the National African American Golfers Hall of Fame in 1984 and was nominated for the 1993 LPGA Teacher of the Year. She was recognized by the National Golf Foundation (NGF) with the NGF Outstanding Service Award.
Dinah Shore Scholarship
This year's Dinah Shore Scholarship has been awarded to Commack High School graduate Alexis Tchaconas. The $5,000 scholarship was established in 1994 to honor the late Dinah Shore, a Hollywood entertainer and honorary member of the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame. The Dinah Shore Scholarship, given out annually, is awarded to a female high school senior who will attend college but not play collegiate golf.
Tchaconas began playing golf through The First Tee program six years ago and was selected as the 2009 National Coca-Cola America's Future Program Winner by The First Tee. She played on Commack High School's girls' varsity golf team for four years and served as captain for three. She was named a scholar athlete all four years and all-league golfer her final two years. Tchaconas volunteers at several Special Olympic Leagues - golf, swimming and bowling - providing instruction to individuals with special needs. She also actively volunteers and interns at The First Tee where she provides instruction to young golfers.
In addition to her accolades on the golf course, she earned the fourth-place grand award at the International Science Fair and the first place grand award at the New York State Science Fair. Graduating with a GPA of 3.9, she also served as Vice President of Commack High School's National Honor Society and President of the Science Honor Society.
Tchaconas' commitment and dedication to science has allowed her to excel in extensive autism research. In 2009, Tchaconas participated in the Simons Summer Research Fellowship where she worked 40 hours per week for 12 weeks conducting research in a neurobiology lab. Additionally, in the summer of 2008 she participated in the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Summer Internship Program. She conducted research for autism during this two-month internship program.
Tchaconas plans to attend Columbia University in New York City to study neuroscience. She hopes to attend medical school to pursue a career as a psychiatrist.
To qualify for the Dinah Shore Scholarship, an applicant must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2; must have played in a minimum of 50 percent of her high school golf team's scheduled events or have regularly played golf for the past two years; must have demonstrated leadership skills and/or extraordinary community affairs work; and must have applied to and been accepted into an accredited undergraduate academic program.
Marilynn Smith Scholarship
The Marilynn Smith Scholarship - named in honor of one of the LPGA's 13 founding members - is awarded to five high school seniors who plan to play collegiate golf while pursuing a college degree. The 2010 recipients of the $5,000 scholarships are Emily Frosaker, Chelsea Hadsall, Michelle Hartenstein, Mallory Kirkland and Georgiana Salant. This year marks the first time five Marilynn Smith Scholarships have been awarded.
Emily Frosaker attended Bemidji High School where she was a member of the girls' varsity golf team for four years and also was a member of the symphonic winds band, chamber orchestra, pep band, brass quintet, powder-puff football team, varsity swim team, national honor society, math league and color guard. In addition to her accomplishments on the golf course, she has received several awards including, among others, the Triple Crown Award and Presidential Distinction Award.
Frosaker graduated high school in 2010 with an impressive 4.179 GPA and plans to attend Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota where she will pursue a double major in psychology and chemistry with a neuroscience minor. She plans on attending medical school and specializing in pediatrics.
Chelsea Hadsall graduated from Macomb High School in 2010 with a 4.0 GPA. While at Macomb High School, she was a four-year member of the varsity girl's golf team where she held the lowest stroke average all four years.
Hadsall also participated in The First Tee that is organized through Western Illinois University and was selected to attend The Future Leaders of America Forum. In addition to the golf team she was a member of National Honor Society, Thespians, Drama Club, Choir, Band, WYSE, Math Team, Scholastic Bowl, Student Council and served as an officer of her 2010 class.
The future looks bright for Hadsall as she plans to attend Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Her schedule is certain to be packed solid as she plans to major in chemistry and mathematics and will begin playing golf in the fall.
Westwood High School student Michelle Hartenstein graduated with a 3.9 GPA and plans to attend Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with a concentration in health and exercise science. A top junior golfer, Hartenstein was named First Team All-District from 2008-2010, All-Region Team in 2008 and 2010, and qualified for the championship flight at the Women's Western Junior in 2009.
Hartenstein was awarded the prestigious AP Scholar Award, Westwood Academic Award and was a member of the Golf Academic All-District Team and Mu Alpha Theta. While balancing school and golf, Hartenstein also found time to give back to the community. She volunteered for several organizations including Church Youth Group, Young Life, and LYLE Counselor Program.
Playing one collegiate sport and being a full-time student can be considered demanding and time consuming. Mallory Kirkland's time will not only be spent on the driving range and hitting the books, she also will be on the hardwood playing basketball. Kirkland will attend Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, where she will play both golf and basketball and actively pursue a degree in math or biology.
The Kate Duncan Smith DAR High School graduate began playing on the golf team when she was in the seventh grade. During her high school golf career she was the first ever golfer from the KDS DAR High School to qualify for the Sub-State Competition. She also was named team captain and earned low-medalist honors for four years.
Time management was never an issue for Kirkland and her grades were a reflection. She graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA which ranked her number one in her class and earned her Valedictorian honors. In addition, she received several awards including the All A's Award, All County Award and numerous art awards. She also spent a significant amount of time volunteering for Relay For Life, Grant Christmas Parade, Walk to Cure Diabetes, Tools for Schools Supply Collection and many more.
Georgiana Salant, graduating with a 4.0 GPA, was a member of La Costa Canyon High School's varsity girls' golf team, tutoring club, and leader of the speech and debate team.
Salant's contributions to the community have set her apart from her fellow 2010 graduates. She founded a charity, Bling with Blessings, which collects used jewelry, cleans and wraps each piece then donates them to the wives and ladies of the military for their military ball. She has devoted a great deal of her time to a charity called Samaritan's Purse where she fills shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and sundries then delivers them to a local church where they ship the boxes all over the world. She also served as President of the Leo's Club where she organized and ran community service projects.
One of the top junior golfers in the San Diego area, Salant was chosen to represent San Diego in the 2009 Girls Junior America's Cup and competed in the prestigious Jr. Worlds Championship. She was also selected to the San Diego Union Tribune CIF All Sectional First team, CIF All-North County Times First Team, Today's Local News All Starts and was named North County Times Athlete of the Week and La Costa Canyon High School Scholar Athlete. Salant is attending Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with an emphasis in chemistry and biology.
Hartenstein and Salant were both former members of LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, a national developmental golf program for girls ages 7-17, which offers an opportunity for girls to make lasting friendships, gain self-confidence, learn to compete and have fun, while fostering a lifetime of enjoyment for the game.
About The LPGA Foundation
In 1991 the Ladies Professional Golf Association established The LPGA Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, to complement the charitable activities of the LPGA and its tournaments. The LPGA Foundation has three main goals: to develop and maintain junior golf programs across the country; to develop and maintain scholarship programs for junior golfers; and to maintain a financial assistance fund for those in the golf industry. Since its inception, The LPGA Foundation, funded solely through corporate and private donations, foundation grants and contributions from the LPGA, has created and supported a number of programs to achieve those objectives. For more information, contact LPGA Headquarters at 386.274.6200.