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NORTON, Massachusetts – Emily Hunt has made quite the impact in the local golfing community – both as a player and a volunteer – and her efforts have now earned her major recognition in the national spotlight. The East Sandwich resident was selected as a national The First Tee Scholar, a distinction award that honors teen participants who excel in academics, leadership, character development, and chapter and community involvement. The complete list of distinct scholars were announced in late March.
The 18-year old Hunt, a senior at Sandwich High School on Cape Cod, was among the 90 young men and women from across the country designated to the Scholar Program’s Class of 2018-19. With this prestigious award, offered by the national The First Tee headquarters, Hunt is now eligible for scholarship opportunities that have been established by the national organization to help offset the costs of attending college – opportunities that have been set up by individuals or corporations, or that have been received in honor or memory of someone. Most scholarships opportunities that scholar program members are eligible for are worth $2,500 per year and renewable for up to four years.
“For the last twelve years I have been involved with the First Tee and while I dreamed of becoming a golfer when I was in grade school, without [The First Tee of Massachusetts], I doubt I would be on my way to play division one golf at Merrimack College in the fall,” said Hunt, who last year competed in the Mass Golf Girls’ Junior Championship, among several other events. “Thanks to [former The First Tee of Massachusetts Executive Director] Joe McCabe and golf professionals Dave Donnellan, Mike Serigan, Bob Travers, and Jane Blalock, I have stayed connected to golf, even when I wasn’t sure if I had the ability or the finances to take my game to the next level.”
To be eligible for consideration for The First Tee Scholars Program, Hunt had to meet several criteria involving her performance in the classroom, work in her community and her involvement with her local The First Tee chapter. Among the long list of items she had to meet, Hunt needed to achieve at least a 3.0 GPA and meet certain scores on ACT and SAT scoring, remain active in a leadership position and involved with community service and be registered with The First Tee for at least three years prior to applying for the scholar program.
In her young career, she has been able to meet all the criteria with flying colors.
After spending much of her youth as a participant in The First Tee of Massachusetts junior golf programming, starting with early morning clinics that were held at Dennis Highlands Golf Course the summer before starting first grade, Hunt has had an active role in several local junior golf initiatives.
She has worked tirelessly to increase female participation in junior golf in leagues such as the Cape Cod Jr. Golf league & has volunteered for both the FedEx Cup Playoff Series at TPC Boston and at the LPGA Legends Tour, which has seen stops in Massachusetts in recent years.
In 2017, Hunt attended the Life Skills and Leadership Academy though The First Tee at Michigan State University, where she was able to develop both her golf skills & her leadership skills – an experience that helped her successfully coordinate the 2017 LPGA Girls Golf on Cape Cod and even helped lead to the creation of Sandwich High Schools first ever girls’ varsity golf team, which is in the midst of its first season – a team that Hunt captains.
She has been able to apply the nine core values of The First Tee to her game and help teach others, and has applied integrity, respect, and honesty to her work at The Ridge Club, where she originally started working as a caddie and eventually moved into her current role as the club’s Golf Shop Assistant/Merchandiser.
As one of the longest tenured participants at the Cape Cod chapter of The First Tee of Massachusetts, held at Hyannis Golf Club, one of the six The First Tee of Massachusetts program chapters, Emily has continuously built on her skills and is slated to join the volunteer team this summer to give back to the next generation of junior golfers.
Her involvement with The First Tee of Massachusetts haven’t gone unnoticed by those around her. On her recognition, Kyle Harris, The First Tee of Massachusetts Director of Operations, said, “Emily has accomplished so much and we’re extremely proud to have her in our program. She is a terrific representative of The First Tee of Massachusetts and embodies all of the life skills we seek to develop in our young people. We look forward to supporting Emily’s future endeavors as well as her continued engagement with our chapter.”
This past October, Hunt signed her national letter of intent with Merrimack College and will join the Warriors women’s golf team beginning this fall. As she looks to earn her degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing and eventually pursue a career in the golf industry, she says being involved with The First Tee programs has put in a position to succeed.
“Because of The First Tee, I have learned priceless leadership skills that I use both on and off the course,” said Hunt. “I have learned how to become a strong competitor and work with members of a team, and to improve as an individual. I really appreciate the opportunities and lessons The First Tee has offered me in life, and I will continue to be involved with events and tournaments.”
The First Tee of Massachusetts is the charitable component of Mass Golf and serves as a chapter of The First Tee – a youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people. Through after-school and in-school programs, The First Tee helps shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf.
For more information on the program, visit www.thefirstteemass.org.