High school senior earns full ride caddy scholarship
Molalla High School senior Marina Daniels just received news that she would be able to attend the University of Oregon this fall at no cost to her.
Daniels has spent the last five years caddying at Waverly Country Club, and as a result, she was awarded the Western Golf Association's Chick Evans Scholarship: a full, four-year housing and tuition scholarship valued at about $100,000 over four years.
"I'm really honored obviously," Daniels said. "It was a lot of hard work to put into it."
Daniels first learned about the program when she was playing golf at The Children's Course in Gladstone. At the time, she was too young to start caddying in the program, but her older sister and brother began right away. Her sister Helen Daniels received the scholarship in 2015, and her brother Andrew Daniels received it in 2017. Her younger brother Ben Daniels is currently participating in the program as well.
Once she was old enough, Daniels began caddying at Waverly, and when she applied for the scholarship in fall of 2017, she had caddied about 140 rounds of golf.
"That's summers, around four days a week; and even on the weekends during the winter, fall and spring, that's what I'm doing," Daniels said.
In addition to caddying experience, Daniels also needed to maintain excellent academic achievement. She worked ahead of her class and took every honors and college class she could, ultimately earning a 3.88 GPA and 4.2 weighted GPA.
"I took as many college classes as I could in high school and all honors as much as I could to get the best education and make high school worth it, I guess, so that I can be successful during the rest of life," Daniels said.
Her hours of caddying, hard work in school and time spent on the lengthy application paid off, and Daniels said she gained more than the scholarship.
"Mainly, just for me, it was the people," Daniels said.
She continued, "I learned a lot about the respect that the members gave each other and how welcoming everyone was…they want everyone to succeed, so they were always willing to help everyone."
The WGA, located in Golf, Illinois, started the scholarship program in 1930, according to a WGA press release. Now 965 scholarship recipients are enrolled in 19 universities across the nation.
"These young men and women have worked tirelessly to earn this life-changing opportunity," said John Kaczkowski, WGA President and CEO. "They have shown excellence in the classroom and in their communities, as well as on the golf course. We welcome them to the Evans Scholars family."
Scholarship funds come mostly from contributions by 32,000 golfers across the country, who are members of the Evans Scholars Par Club program, according to the release. Evans Scholars Alumni donate more than $10 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.
Several Waverly members that Daniels caddied for are donors and members of the board of directors for the Evans Scholarship.
"They give money each year to the scholarship because they want to see us kids become successful, and they just want to give as much as they can to us," Daniels said. "So that was really important to me. I was like, 'Wow, they're spending their time and money for me and other scholars so we can become successful people in life.' That hit me kind of hard, because that's something most people don't do anymore."
In the fall, Daniels will live in a house with other Evans scholars, and she plans to study business and accounting at UO.