After a long process that lasted nearly five months, two Molalla seniors have been selected to be Evans Scholars, winning full four-year housing and tuition scholarships as they start college this fall.
Del DeAngelis and Andrew Daniels, both members of Molalla's golf team, are two of ten recipients from Oregon and 270 nationwide to win the prestigious award that first began providing scholarships to caddies in 1930.
The Western Golf Association, founded in 1899, supports the Evans Scholars Foundation, which "provides full housing and tuition scholarships to deserving caddies across the country."
According to the foundation, there are 935 caddies enrolled in college on scholarship for the 2016-2017 school year, and more than 10,400 Evans Alumni across the country.
The winners from Oregon had the option to attend either the University of Oregon or University of Washington (two of the 15 universities where the foundation operates a Scholarship House); DeAngelis chose UO and Daniels chose UW.
DeAngelis started caddying at Waverly Country Club in Portland in April 2015; his first time caddying was his freshman year when he caddied for Cam Cleeland, a former tight end for the St. Louis Rams at a celebrity golf tournament at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha.
"Once I did that I immediately went home and contacted almost every program I could," DeAngelis said. "I love [caddying] and I think it's one of the best jobs you can have."
DeAngelis said he loves being able to help people golf, walk beautiful courses, and watch golf while getting paid for it.
He said the scholarship process was sometimes tough, and he didn't think he would be able to do enough in terms of grades and time commitment.
But DeAngelis pushed through and made it to the final round of interviews, in which he was required to stand in front of about 80 people along with four directors from the foundation and answer questions about himself, which "felt like a press conference," according to DeAngelis. He credited his participation in Parliamentary Procedure with Molalla's FFA program for teaching him public speaking skills that he said will "help you in any situation in life."
Being an Evans Scholar means he'll be able to attend college debt-free – something he never thought would be possible.
"I've always wanted to go to college from a young age, and graduating debt-free is a dream I never thought would come true," he said. "I'm excited to be part of this family because once you're an Evans Scholar, you're always an Evans Scholar."
DeAngelis will study business administration and political science at UO. He said he either wants to take over his family's business (Union Mills Feed Store) or become a politician. He said his dream job would be to serve as the United States Secretary of Agriculture.
Daniels began caddying four years ago, also at Waverly Country Club. He said about nine years ago, he was introduced to caddying through The First Tee of Greater Portland, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to providing golfing opportunities for youth and families," according to their website.
Daniels said neither of his parents played golf ("My dad thinks he can") but it was his cousins that were involved in the sport, so he decided to pick it up around eight years old.
Daniels' sister, Helen, is also an Evans Scholar, and she is currently attending UO on scholarship. Daniels said he and his sister initially began caddying as a way to earn some money, but it blossomed into much more than that.
"You make good money, create connections with prominent people in society, and you enhance valuable skills in the process such as being able to talk with these prominent figures," Daniels said.
Daniels said one doesn't necessarily need to have a golf background in order to become a caddy, since it is "fairly simple and can be picked up quickly."
He noted one of his favorite moments as a caddy when he and his younger brother, Ben, attended a caddy camp on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts two summers ago called Camp Sankaty Head.
"For two months, we eat, sleep, work, and play together and it was such an amazing experience for me to leave home and become independent, expanding my horizons to the East Coast," Daniels said.
He said he and Ben had such a great time there that they are going back this summer as well.
"This caddy camp has created lifelong connections with people from all over and ingrained memories that will last forever and is truly one of my biggest highlights of where caddying has taken me," Daniels said.
Daniels has decided on UW where he will study either dentistry or computer engineering.
"Being awarded this scholarship was a great achievement for me; it definitely relieves a financial burden that is attached to acquiring a higher education and it was definitely a thrilling journey," Daniels said. "On the day the letter arrival, it was almost as if my parents, more so dad, was more excited than I was; I was actually a little overwhelmed and shocked upon its arrival, but I am truly excited about the scholarship because it is an amazing start for what is to come."
While Daniels did say his recent completion of a public speaking course at MHS helped his confidence during the final round of interviews, he felt mostly at ease and welcomed by the committee.
"All the finalists were definitely encouraged not to worry and that all of the adults in the room were excited to see us and all wanted us to succeed, so that eased some tension," Daniels said. "Ultimately we were just expected to go in there and be ourselves, and that meant for me going in there and even telling a story that made everyone laugh."
Daniels encourages people to look into caddying as well as becoming an Evans Scholar in the future "because there is nothing like it out there."
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
Follow us on Twitter
Visit Us on Facebook