April 26, 2016

The fun and difficult process of selecting Earl Woods Scholars

These past few days have been a whirlwind of travel to the East Coast cities where the Tiger Woods Foundation selects scholars. It’s an exciting time of year for me to read the scholarship applications of deserving students and select candidates to move forward to the interview phase. It’s always a wonderful experience to meet the students in person and get to know them better, beyond what was presented on paper.

My first stop was Boston. We had a great committee comprised of foundation staff, an alum of the program and a staff member from the Red Sox Foundation. The second region was Washington, D.C., where an alum also served on the committee, and New York rounded out the trip. We were fortunate to be able to have a mentor and alumni participate on the panels. Some of the candidates we interviewed have participated in summer enrichment programs, hold part-time jobs, will be the valedictorians of their class, are the first in their family to attend college and contribute hundreds of hours to community service activities.

I wish the students could see what a difficult process it is to select each year’s cohort. The committee members are very passionate, and there is much debate that occurs in finalizing who the scholars will be. It’s been very beneficial to have alumni and mentors on the committee. Not only has their perspective of the local communities been valuable to our deliberations, but they gain a greater appreciation for the process the foundation has in place to select scholars. We discuss the merits of each student and take great care at looking at them as individuals and celebrating their hard work. It would be great if we could fulfill every student’s needs, but we have a limited number of scholarships available. They are all amazing young people contributing to their communities and achieving success in school and beyond.

Although the task is extremely difficult, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences, knowing that not only will our financial assistance make a difference, but also our wraparound support services will have an immeasurable impact on their future trajectory. The foundation will notify our scholars of their selection by May 1 to help inform their decision of the college they may select to attend in the fall. This is a joy to do, and I wish I could be on all those phone calls when students learn the news that they have been selected as a scholar.

We are looking forward to welcoming the Class of 2020 to the Earl Woods Scholarship in the coming weeks.

Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.