Supporting and promoting golf in Northern California

Gavin Newsom Praises 37 Youth on Course Scholarship Recipients

Celebration Day For 37 Youth on Course Scholarship Recipients

June 11, 2014


The mission of the Northern California Golf Association’s highly praised Youth on Course program is to provide youth with links to a better future.

On Wednesday at Lake Merced Golf Club, 37 futures got a whole lot brighter.

Nearly 150 parents, guests and honorees were at the club for the inaugural Youth on Course Scholarship Luncheon, where 37 Youth on Course kids formally received recognition for their commitment and hard work.

Among those on hand at the event was Sandy Tatum, who is known as the ‘godfather’ of the Youth on Course program, and former San Francisco mayor and current Lieutenant Governor of the State of California Gavin Newsom.

Newsom, acting in the role of keynote speaker, began by praising the 37 honorees for their accomplishments.

“This is a big deal,” Newsom said. “It’s incredibly impressive.”

In relating to the Youth on Course kids, Newsom touched on his own background. Growing up, he struggled with dyslexia that among that among other things, made it difficult for him to read out loud. Due to the learning disability, Newsom struggled in his attempts to obtain higher education. He’d eventually enroll at Marin Community College, and thanks to being a great baseball player, later earned a small scholarship to Santa Clara University.

“Those first few years were very challenging for me, but I found my passion,” Newsom said. “These kids are learning life lessons, and those skills are profound in life. They are the recipes for success.”

Newsom went on to remind the kids that as the old adage goes, ‘Success is often defined as the ability to move from failure to failure with enthusiasm.’

“Life is not about being something, it’s about doing something,” Newsom said. “Learn from, don’t follow others. We’re living in a world where everyone is stepping up their game. As an employer, I wouldn’t care what you know. I want to know what you are going to do with what you know.”

Also taking turns at the podium were former Youth on Course scholar Veronica Zavala and 2014 award recipient Kelsey Wong.


Former Youth on Course scholarship recipient Veronica Zavala will graduate from college this weekend.

Thanks to the scholarship she received, Zavala is the first generation college graduate in her family. Wong compared the scholarship to someone holding her hand along the way.

“No one wants to travel life alone,” said Wong, who is headed to Cal-Berkeley in the fall.

Afterwards, Newsom presented each of the scholarship recipients with their award. As a bonus, each of the recipients also received a new Sony tablet to help them on their way.

Each of the award recipients were selected out of 400-plus applicants. The candidates had to submit extensive applications giving them the opportunity to demonstrate community stewardship and describe outstanding achievements and impacting personal/educational experiences.

Award recipient Vanessa Li of San Francisco, who’s also headed to Cal-Berkeley, interned at Silver Avenue Family Health Center, where she translated and communicated with patients. Merced resident Anthony Speer, who will begin attending Fresno Pacific University in the fall, started a ‘Lids to Save Lives’ campaign that is now in its fifth year. He has collected over 5,000 lids for breast cancer research.

Combined, the group put in more than 4,000 hours of community service and had a glowing 3.91 grade point average. The award recipients’ home areas included the North Bay, San Joaquin Valley, the East Bay, the South Bay and San Francisco.

Success in the program is not defined by golf skill, but by participation, engagement, adoption of the principles of Youth on Course and willingness to work.


The 37 scholarship recipients were:

Alberto Alverado (Santa Rosa), Annika Anderson (Sacramento), Elizabeth Azevedo (Merced), Kelsey Belli (Vacaville), Angela Brown (Oakland), Sammy Carey (Clovis), Zaria Clemmons (San Francisco), Zenay Clemmons (San Francisco), Noe Garza (Selma), Stephanie Giori (Arcata), Eulalia Gutierrez Garcia (Hollister), Craig Kampen (Visalia), Vanessa Li (San Francisco), Eric Medina (Fort Bragg), Jacqueline Medina (Salinas), Emanuel Nunez (Gustine), Kishan Patel (Santa Cruz), Paulina Prasad (Sonoma), Max Reichardt (Forest Hill), Dreama Rhodes (Merced), Palmer Runberg (Willits), Lilavaline Tina Saensombath (Fresno), Christopher Seruge (San Francisco), Anthony Speer (Merced), Zhicong Brian Wang (San Francisco), Samuel Waterstone (San Anselmo), Jantel Wells (Sacramento), Frances Wilson (Hanford), Kelsey Wong (Fremont), Charlotte Woo (San Francisco), Theresa Woods (Sonora), Desirae Woodson (Yuba City), Xiaofan Wu (San Francisco), Min Ying Yang (Oakland), Jasmine Yiggins (Clear Lake), Michael Yussuf-Mounthault (Oakland), Xiao Yan Kelly Zhao (Tai Shan, China).

For more on Youth on Course, please contact Executive Director Adam Heieck at 831-622-8231 or or Director of Programs Michael Lowe at 831-622-8265 or

-Jerry Stewart

Author: Jerry Stewart

Share This Post On