At the Earl Woods Scholarship Program's luncheon on Jan. 4, the eight graduating seniors took the stage to give thanks to the Foundation and share their experiences of being an Earl Woods Scholar over the last four years.
The heartfelt speeches not only showed the true excellence they have achieved in college, but the invaluable network and relationships they have built over the past four years through the Earl Woods Scholarship Program.
The following are speeches from two of the extraordinary scholars -- Taylor Compton and Hebing Zhou. While both scholars attend prestigious universities on the East Coast, each shared a unique testimonial that showcased their individual growth and accomplishments.
Taylor Compton, Harvard University
My name is Taylor Compton, and I'm graduating this spring from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in neurobiology and a minor in Spanish. When I received my Harvard acceptance letter, I was honored and excited but also nervous. How was I ever going to afford an Ivy League education?
Then, I heard from the Earl Woods Scholarship Program. I was blessed with a scholarship that would cover my student contribution. Almost four years ago, I stepped into the TWLC building for the first time. I learned that I was receiving much more than just a check to the financial aid office. I had an instant support network as I started college on the other side of the country. I've learned so much from our workshops and from the other inspiring scholars, and gained leadership skills that were transferrable to my officer positions in organizations on campus.
Furthermore, I had the opportunity to intern at the Tiger Woods Learning Center for a summer. It was a chance to act on my passion for helping children. My experience assisting the teachers here prepared me for my subsequent work with kids in Boston, China and Spain.
The scholarship also provided me with my mentor, Sandy. She is a wonderful resource for career advice and also provides emotional support.
I want to thank Sandy as well as the Tiger Woods Foundation staff for all of their support. Thank you also to my fellow Earl Woods Scholars, and the family and friends who have given so much so that we can follow our dreams.
Hebing Zhou, Georgetown University
My name is Hebing, and I am currently a senior at Georgetown University majoring in chemistry. First of all, I want to thank all the Tiger Woods Foundation staff for their support for the past four years. I would also like to thank my mentor, Ed Machir, who always had my back and guided me through my last two years of college. And last but not least, I want to give a big thanks to Tiger who, of course, founded this wonderful scholarship program that is supporting over 70 first-generation college students. This support is not only financial but also serves as our life coach, giving us guidance and unlimited support.
I remember the day I received my acceptance letter to Georgetown University. It wasn't excitement that I was feeling but fear because the thought of paying the expensive tuition scared me. Being accepted to become an Earl Woods Scholar gave me hope and helped me become a proud Hoya at Georgetown University.
For the past three and a half years, I faced countless challenges and overcame many obstacles, but if it wasn't for the support of the Earl Woods Scholarship Program, I would never have made it. As an Earl Woods Scholar, I got the chance to experience many things that I would never have had the opportunity to experience. I got the chance to travel here to California several times and met so many new, great people and made lifetime friends. The Earl Woods Scholarship Program also provided me with opportunities to participate in various workshops that helped me grow professionally.
Now, as I am about to begin the last semester of my college career, I feel like there are many things that I would like to reflect on before I embark on a new journey after my graduation. The wonderful people I met, great friends I made, life lessons I learned, and many other little details that made my college journey so adventurous. In the end I would like to thank everyone who came to celebrate this big day with me and my fellow scholars of 2013. Thank you.