By our Smarty friends at The First Tee of Greater Charlotte
“Always remember where you came from.” Sameer Aery, a First Tee of Greater Charlotte alumni and recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte expresses that this is his favorite quote. Sameer truly takes this quote to heart because as I write this article Sameer is outside, in the heat, coaching a group from Billingsville Elementary at The First Tee of Greater Charlotte Learning Center. He is voluntarily giving up his precious summer time-off before starting his new career with Ernst & Young.
Sameer began his journey with The First Tee in 2007, and he is a true testament that The First Tee of Greater Charlotte is more than just golf. By the time he was a senior in high school and an Ace Level participant, Sameer earned the coveted title of “The First Tee Scholar” which is awarded by the home office. Most importantly, he became a proud recipient of the Rudolph-Dadey College Scholarship which provides First Tee alumni with $2500 per year towards reaching their dreams of higher education.
Almost ten years later, and now a graduate, he continues to come back to The First Tee on school breaks to volunteer his time coaching and speaking on behalf of the organization. Reflecting on his experience, Sameer states “The First Tee is all about helping participants find their purpose and passion in the game of golf, but also in life. The countless events I was fortunate enough to attend helped me build communication and networking skills that now allows me to stand out in front of a group of people. I also learned the true idea of respect…such as taking off your hat when entering a building or simply shaking someone’s hand with a firm grip.”
As Sameer heads out into the workforce, a new group of alumni will head off to college this fall. Through the support of Ballantyne Country Club who began the Rudolph-Dadey Memorial Tournament, which funds the scholarships, The First Tee of Greater Charlotte has had the privilege to award $54,500 to college participants. The current annual scholarship amount is $2,500 to each recipient. With the desire to be able to award more scholarships to graduating high school seniors, The Rudolph-Dadey Memorial Tournament is now a celebrity event, and will take place on June 20.
The impact of the scholarship is great and lifelong. “The Rudolph-Dadey scholarship has provided me with quite a bit these past four years.” Sameer affirms. “Firstly, the financial aspect has helped substantially, but more importantly, the opportunities and honor that comes with such a scholarship. I remember attending the annual golf tournament before I became a recipient and having the opportunity to address those who helped make the scholarship possible. That day I was addressing those very people, but today I am representing them. As a recipient, I feel as if my job is get the word out about the scholarship, why it was created, who qualifies, etc. but it truthfully continues to strengthen my motivation and desire to succeed.”
Since the initial awards to graduating high school seniors who have also successfully participated in The First Tee of Greater Charlotte curriculum, 14 scholarship recipients have been named. These funds are available to each recipient throughout their college career as long as they continue to meet the standards set forth in the application. We are excited to announce the 2016 recipients this Friday, June 3 on WBTV! Tune it at 8:00 P.M!