Hofmann: Glenwood siblings are Evans Scholars
By Maryellen Hofmann Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org May 30, 2013 1:42PM
Michael and Kassie Wallace | Supplied photo
Updated: July 3, 2013 6:15AM
When Michael and Kassie Wallace began caddying at Flossmoor Country Club, they were young teens looking for summer jobs.
Their motivation was simple — work hard and earn good money. An opportunity for a full college scholarship was not on their radar.
Today, the siblings are recipients of a Chick Evans Scholarship that provides full, four-year tuition and housing to deserving caddies.
Michael just completed his second year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His sister will attend the University of Michigan this fall. Both remain active caddies at Flossmoor Country Club.
Kassie began caddying at Flossmoor at 13 along with her best friend. Hanging around the caddy shack as a young girl was a bit daunting at first, but she was undeterred and quickly learned how to hold her own in a predominantly male group.
“It was nice having my brother there,” she said. “He had my back. ... Being 13, you can’t really get another job.”
Kassie joins a select group of Evans Scholars — 24 percent are women.
Encouraged by a fellow caddie who was an Evans Scholar, Kassie began to think seriously about pursuing the scholarship. The process is rigorous — involving a written application and essay, letters of reference from club members and teachers and a personal interview. Applicants must have a strong caddie record, excellent grades and demonstrate both financial need and outstanding character.
Kassie got a call in early November, asking what her top three ranked colleges were. She was just beginning to visit and apply to colleges and was not prepared to answer that. She had one week to squeeze in campus visits and prepare for a personal interview before members of the Western Golf Association, local caddy masters and golf professionals from area clubs.
Michael started caddying the summer after eighth grade. He didn’t go into it knowing about the scholarship. But with “persistence, diligence and some (good-natured) nagging from my mom,” he landed the coveted scholarship in 2011.
Michael said he could not have afforded to go to most of the schools that accept scholarships from the Evans Foundation without the scholarship. He’s grateful not only for the scholarship but for his caddy experience, which he describes as a great introduction to the workforce.
He attributes his positive experience at Flossmoor Country Club to its members.
“They are absolutely wonderful … the type of people who appreciate the role of the caddy,” he said.
He made particular mention of club member and mentor Tim Daw and his wife, Eileen, of Homewood, adding that “Kassie and I would not be where we are today without them.”
Michael lives at the Evans Scholar House at Miami University, one of 14 universities where the foundation has a house.
There is also a strong emphasis on collaboration, with scholars required to fulfill group responsibilities. Chapter evaluations are conducted every semester, and peers rank one another on the four pillars of the Evans Scholarship: leadership, scholarship, group living and house maintenance.
The Western Golf Association reports that the graduation rate for Evans Scholars is 92 percent, and their average GPA is 3.25 on a 4.0 scale.
Kassie and Michael attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where they were active in volleyball and the Viking Choir. Kassie also participated in the DECA business club and was treasurer of the school’s National Honor Society chapter. Michael was active with Operation Snowball at H-F and continues to sing with Miami Men’s Glee Club at college.
To the young people hoping to follow in her footsteps, Kassie offers this advice: “Caddying is the best job,” she said. “If you have the work ethic, go after it.”