Deserving seniors get full ride scholarships


Photos by Miles Hayford

Charlie McLaughlin (left) and Mel Ortiz (right).

Miles Hayford

This spring, Seniors Charlie McLaughlin and Mel Ortiz were awarded the Chick Evans Scholarship by The Western Golf Association Evans Scholars Foundation. The prestigious scholarship awarded to 52 Chicago area caddies covers full-tuition and housing. To qualify for the scholarship, caddies are required to have a strong caddie record, excellent academic performance, demonstrate financial need, and express strong character. 

McLaughlin started caddying the summer going into his freshman year after his friends introduced him to it. He has loved getting to caddy every summer. “Being outside is the best part,” he said. His love of the game of golf also contributes to his enjoyment of the job. He also loves getting to meet new people every day.

Ortiz had a bit of a different experience with caddying. She got into the role by being a part of the Western Golf Association Caddie Academy. As part of the program Ortiz stayed in a dorm for seven weeks in the summer with other caddies. There, she was introduced to caddying by the guidance of other caddies and former Chick Evans Scholarship recipients. 

After completing the program, Ortiz continued to caddy on her own. Her favorite part of the job is networking. “When you caddy, you get to talk to a lot of golfers. And, a lot of these golfers are successful businessmen and women who have already established themselves. So, it’s really nice to talk to them and even exchange contact information,” said Ortiz. 

The opportunities like internships that present themselves through this communication is very unexpected, but rewarding. She said, “It’s really cool to talk to these golfers for a few hours, and at the end have them be ready to help you with the next step, even though it was just a game of golf.”

When Ortiz heard the news of her acceptance on her sister’s birthday, a great day got even better. “I was really happy, and just in awe. I was ecstatic.” For McLaughlin, the happiness didn’t even set in right away because of his shock. When he came home and opened the letter he said he “was in shock for twenty minutes.”

Both students will be putting the full ride scholarship to good use. Ortiz will be attending the University of Michigan, and McLaughlin will be heading to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in the fall.