Seniors Angela Bogusz and Nick Stodola joined an elite group this spring when they learned they had been named Evans Scholars by the Western Golf Association.
Their scholarships are awarded by the Evans Scholars Foundation, which is a charitable trust that provides full, four-year tuition and housing college scholarships to deserving caddies. The program dates back to 1930 and is named for Chick Evans, one of golf’s greatest amateurs.
Applicants must have a strong caddie record, including recommendations from members, as well as excellent grades, financial need and outstanding character, according to the WGA website.
For Angela, winning the scholarship will enable her to attend the University of Illinois in Champaign, where she hopes to major in speech pathology while Nick will attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he plans to major in biology.
Angela has worked the last three summers as a caddie at Park Ridge Country Club, literally following in the footsteps of her older two brothers, who also earned Evans Scholarships. Her oldest brother, Matthew, attended Northwestern and now serves as mayor of Des Plaines, while her middle brother, Phillip, attended the University of Illinois.
Although she had never played golf when she first attended caddie training, she quickly learned the course, as well which clubs to hand to members and even how to help players on the greens.
“I love to read putts,” she proclaims, pointing to the rugged nature of the 100-year old club.
Watching her older brothers earn the scholarship, motivated Angela, she says. Most days, she tries to go out on two loops—it’s a great workout, she says—and she has learned to think on her feet and talk to members.
“I’ve made relationships that will help for the rest of my life,” Angela says. “It’s a great network.”
Nick started caddying after seventh grade at Ivanhoe Country Club, located in Lake County near Mundelein. Unlike Angela, he was not aware of the scholarship, but he fit the profile of deserving caddies that WGA members are trying to help.
“I heard about the scholarship through my caddy master,” Nick says. “He knew I had a single mother.”
Adapting to caddying and carrying 40-pound golf bags was not as big a transition for Nick as it was for Angela. Nick played football during his four years at Saint Viator, playing both wide receiver and cornerback for the Lions. In fact, during summers, he would caddie in the morning and then head to school to workout at football camp.
Both students say the multi-step interview process was grueling, but they sensed WGA members were impressed with their level of involvement at school.
Angela has played tennis all four years, appeared in the musical during the winter and participated with Campus Ministry, as a leader on the liturgy team, while Nick played football and lacrosse each year.
Both students now join a brotherhood that spans generations. Currently, 910 caddies are enrolled in 19 colleges across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 10,000 caddies have graduated as Evans Scholars since the program was founded.