Twenty of the nation’s brightest minds and junior golfers were named to the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team by the American Junior Golf Association and HP Wednesday. The 2005 team, sponsored for the 11th consecutive year by HP, consists of 10 young men and 10 young women who demonstrate the ability to excel both on the golf course and in the classroom.
To be eligible for the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team, boys must have placed in the top 10 of an AJGA event, while girls needed a top-five finish. The selections were then based on grade-point average, class rank, SAT/ACT scores, leadership skills, community service and writing ability. Candidates were required to submit an essay or poem no longer than 400 words that creatively focused on the game of golf.
This year’s overall essay winner was Whitney Neuhauser of Barboursville, Va. Monticello High School, where Neuhauser is enrolled as a senior, will receive a computer compliments of HP.
These outstanding individuals will be honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet Nov. 20 at the Jekyll Island Convention Center in Jekyll Island, Ga. By being named to this team, each player is also eligible to participate in the Polo Golf Junior Classic – one of the most prestigious events in junior golf – taking place Nov. 19-25 at Sea Island Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga.
“HP is delighted once again to recognize academic excellence with the naming of the 2005 HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team,” said Mike Larson, HP’s Personal System’s Group senior vice president and general manager for the Americas. “The AJGA works hard to prepare young adults for life after high school by instilling honor, perseverance and good sportsmanship. HP is proud to be associated with the AJGA and this great group of young adults.”
by Whitney Neuhauser
It was a sweltering late-summer afternoon shortly before the beginning of the school year, as eight members of my high school golf team and I waited for practice to begin. We huddled near the first tee, waiting for a group of club members to tee off before beginning a round of qualifying. Several men drove ahead of us and approached the first tee. We thought nothing of it as we watched the first three men hack their drives into the woods on either side of the fairway.
“Great,” I thought to myself. “So much for the hopes of a two-hour round.”
However, as the fourth man made his way to the tee, that thought quickly vanished from my mind. For you see, the fourth player in the group had only one leg.
Despite his physical handicap, the man had a golf swing to rival that of most respectable amateurs. Using crutches, he hobbled onto the tee and, with the balance of a gymnast, placed his tee into the ground. Tossing his crutches aside, he began his pre-shot routine; one practice swing, one look at the target, a hop closer to the ball, a shimmy and a shake to get comfortable and then, WHAM! His drive split the fairway and, in a blow to the ego of every boy on my golf team, was an easy two hundred-seventy plus yards. Calmly, he picked up his crutches and hobbled to his cart, leaving the eight of us awestruck.
The rest of that afternoon, I could only watch in admiration as the one-legged man patiently played the course, often from the middle of the fairway and always with the smooth and confident swing he showed off the first tee.
After finishing the final hole, I came to appreciate just how much I had learned from this courageous man that afternoon. I recognized for the first time how much I had taken for granted my own good health and golfing abilities. The absolute difficulty of a “normal golf shot” and the ability to simply enjoy the pleasure of “walking” nine holes became respectfully clear. His desire to participate and succeed, despite his handicap, helped me realize that some things in life are worth more than winning trophies or receiving recognition. Little did he know that on that on that particular summer’s day, we had experienced a common glory!