Scholarly earnings

Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jeffrey Tran was awarded The First Tee $10,000 scholarship to use at a college of his choice.

This week, Lakeside High School senior Jeffrey Tran is working at a concessions stand at Augusta National Golf Club.


Later this month, however, the 17-year-old will speak at a congressional breakfast in Washington, D.C., as the winner of a $10,000 scholarship from The First Tee, a national organization that teaches character development and values to young people through golf.

"It was sort of a surprise. I didn't think I would get it," Jeffrey said of his prize.

He has not yet decided where he will attend college next year, but the scholarship money can go toward expenses at the college of his choice.

Jeffrey said Jill Brown, the executive director of The First Tee of Augusta, encouraged him to apply for the scholarship.

"He's just a model student and an embodiment of The First Tee's nine core values," said Ms. Brown.

Ms. Brown said Academy of Richmond County senior Shepherd Archie III also was selected for The First Tee Scholars Program, a national initiative that recognizes 25 high school seniors who demonstrate academic excellence, community service and leadership.

Jeffrey said he started playing golf at The First Tee when it opened in 2001.

"I think golf is interesting because it's the only sport where you call your own penalties. It brings out character and honesty," he said.

His association with The First Tee has given him other opportunities as well.

Last fall, Jeffrey played golf with Hale Irwin in the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, an official Champions Tour event.

He also took part in the organization's Future Leaders Forum in Florida. As part of the forum, students received leadership training provided by The Disney Institute.

Jeffrey said The First Tee has taught him how to make decisions and plan for the future.

"Because they focus so much on life skills, it just made its members and me a better person," he said.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or