Deloitte, the Northern Texas PGA (NTPGA) and United Way announced seven recipients of this year’s Deloitte/NTPGA Fairway to Success scholarships, a program that now has awarded more than $1.1 million to local students over the past decade. Again in 2019, in collaboration with the University of North Texas at Dallas (UNT Dallas), a full, four-year scholarship to the university was awarded to one deserving student.
On May 6 at the Lakewood Country Club, these seven Dallas ISD students were honored: Hector Diaz, Aracely Escobar, Naomi Jones, Yobesh Ogari Okero, Miriam Resendez-Ortiz and Gerrick Walker – each receiving a $20,000 college scholarship. Another Dallas ISD student, Salma Gonzalez, was awarded the UNT Dallas-funded scholarship.
“Golf teaches its players many life lessons, including integrity, humility and patience, and Deloitte is proud of how Fairway to Success has influenced so many students in North Texas. It not only has prepared many for college, but also has given them a chance to develop the disciplines rooted in the sport,” said Dan Berner, North Texas managing partner, Deloitte LLP. “We’ve now topped $1.1 million in awards, and I know these promising students will be taking away more than just a scholarship.”
UNT Dallas President Bob Mong said the university is proud to join the Fairway to Success scholarship program for another year.
“Our growing urban university is built on the belief that everyone should have access to education, and that’s what this program is all about,” Mong said. “Congratulations to Salma Gonzalez, who will receive a full four-year scholarship to UNTD, and congratulations to all of the scholarship winners from Dallas ISD. Thank you to Deloitte and to the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation for their commitment to providing youth in our community with opportunities for education.”
Established in 2007, the Fairway to Success program annually awards scholarships to students based on academic performance, extracurricular activities, community involvement and financial need. The program covers three DISD high schools – W.W. Samuell, Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln – and includes introducing students to golf and the life lessons of discipline, honor and integrity that are central to the game.
During the 2018-2019 school year, more than 223 Dallas ISD students took part in a five-week after-school golf program in the fall and spring. They learned the basics of golf from PGA golf professionals, and graduating seniors who qualified by participating in the program had the chance to apply for the scholarships.
Fairway to Success also includes mentorship to support scholarship recipients throughout their college careers. Scholarship recipients interact with Deloitte mentors who share their insights gained from working in a professional services environment. Mentors also help students explore potential career opportunities in the business and STEM-focused fields of study.
So far, 58 Dallas ISD students have received the scholarships, now topping $1.1 million – funded by Deloitte partners, principals and professionals in North Texas.
The NTPGA also employs two Fairway to Success recipients as interns each summer. It furthers the intern’s golf education that began on their high school campuses through Fairway to Success.
“The Fairway to Success Scholarship program goes the extra mile to provide more than just an opportunity to go to college. The program gives all seniors, who choose it, the opportunity to gain mentorship, learn to play golf, and grow as a student”, said Sandi Massey, Principal of Thomas Jefferson High School.
The 2019 scholarship recipients are:
Hector Diaz – Thomas Jefferson High School
Hector, who is ranked 3rd in his class, will be the second member of his family to graduate from high school. He served as the team captain for the varsity football team and during halftime would perform in the marching band, both his junior and senior years. During his involvement with the band, Hector earned an All-State title as a Solo & Ensemble Percussionist three times. During his senior year, he became involved with National Honor Society and was elected as President. When Hector was not involved with band, wrestling, football, National Honor Society or Math UIL, he was working for his grandfather’s company, Harry H. Price and Son. He was able to help his grandfather’s company become more effective in business practices by introducing new processing systems for invoicing and inventory. Hector is looking to double major in political science & business administration at Austin College. If he is not busy with his studies, you will be able to find Hector on the field playing football for the Kangaroos.
Aracely Escobar – W.W. Samuell High School
Aracely is very passionate about learning which is shown by being ranked 3rd in her class. She will also be a graduate of the Early College High School program offered through W.W. Samuell. As she will already have completed 65 credits and earned her associate’s degree, she is very excited to be on campus to meet new people and be introduced to new cultures. Every Sunday, she serves as the Junior Master Server at her church, which means she is an assistant to the father of the church. Her involvement with school includes being a member in student council and TRIO, a talent search program. Aracely has held multiple leadership positions throughout her high school career, such as serving as the co-secretary for National Honor Society and the 1st Lieutenant of the Starlets Drill Team. She will be attending the University of North Texas at Dallas to pursue a degree in education and plans to become a math teacher.
Salma Gonzalez – W.W. Samuell High School
While in high school, Salma became involved with the Autism Treatment Center in Dallas and completed an internship with them this past summer. Through the internship, she grew an interest in Special Education and decided that would be what she studied in college. Salma will also be completing another internship this summer working with students from kindergarten to sixth grade. Her involvement shows her passion for helping children in her community. Salma serves as the President of the Early College High School students and will also be graduating with her associate’s degree from Eastfield College. She is heavily involved within her community serving as a group leader at church or assisting with the Salvation Army Corps. Salma will be pursuing her education degree this fall as this year’s UNT-Dallas Fairway to Success scholarship recipient and will be a first generation college student.
Naomi Jones – Lincoln High School
Naomi can be found spending her free time reading if she is not working, studying or being involved in school activities. She currently serves as the class President for Lincoln High School. Naomi is very involved with the radio/TV program at Lincoln and serves as a videographer for the soccer and baseball teams. Her responsibilities as the head media producer is to film, edit, and produce quality video footage. She has participated on the academic decathlon team junior and senior year, winning gold medals in multiple categories. Naomi has interned at the Dallas Public Library, as well as at Oncor Electric Delivery. She is currently working at a local YMCA in the child watch program. Naomi will be attending the University of North Texas at Denton as a first generation college student and plans to study public relations.
Yobesh Ogari Okero – W.W. Samuell High School
Yobesh immigrated to the United States in 2011 from Kenya. His journey has taught him to value everything he has encountered so far. If Yobesh was not kept busy with his duties in National Honor Society, you could find him either running on the track or field for cross country. He was President of the Track & Field team, as well as Co-Captain of the Cross Country team, and has served as both Vice President and President of W.W. Samuell’s National Honor Society. Through these many activities, Yobesh was also the President of the UIL Math & Science team. He also participated in JROTC all four years of high school. Yobesh is excited to continue his education at Texas Tech University to study mechanical engineering and has ambitions to one day receive his Ph.D.
Miriam Resendez – Ortiz – Thomas Jefferson High School
Miriam is ranked 8th in her class at Thomas Jefferson High School, and during her high school career she has been involved with a variety of clubs and has held multiple leadership positions. Miriam has been an active member of the Thomas Jefferson band all four years and this past year held the prestigious position of being the drum major while also serving as the secretary on the band council. She’s also the captain of the debate team and president of mock trial. On top of her other various leadership positions, Miriam also serves as the treasurer for the student council and is a member of National Honor Society. Miriam wants to provide a positive change as she pursues her degree in early childhood education. She grew her interest in education after volunteering at Walnut Hill Elementary. Miriam will continue her education this fall at The University of North Texas at Denton.
Gerrick Walker – Lincoln High School
Gerrick is ranked 3rd in his class and attended St. Anthony’s up until high school when he ultimately choose to switch to DISD to attend the Radio/TV program at Lincoln High School. He was in charge of editing and creating videos for various school programs. Gerrick also decided to join the golf team during his senior year after gaining interest in the game and being a part of the Fairway to Success program. Community involvement is a strong passion of his, whether it was volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club or helping at his grandfather’s church. On top of being involved with his community, Gerrick has maintained two jobs as well as working as an intern with The Black Academy of Arts & Letters. He will be attending the University of North Texas at Denton and is planning to study either logistics or radio/TV.