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2021 Northern Ohio PGA Section Foundation Scholarships

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Rachel DiDonato

Akron, Ohio

Rachel graduated from Green High School in June with a 4.457 GPD. When asked what her favorite school subject is, her answer was “Math. Because there is only one right answer.” Coming from a family of five kids, she has worked multiple jobs throughout high school to save money to pay for college. Rachel began playing golf the week before tryouts in her freshman year of high school, and was using clubs older than she was. By the end of her interview with the Scholarship Committee, her sense of humor came out and she admitted that she did get a new set of clubs and traded in her hand-me-downs. Rachel feels that golf has been influential in developing honesty, integrity, and hard work, qualities that every golfer should possess. She competes on the NOPGA Junior Tour and participates in OGGF events as well as First Tee events. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Student Council, Developing Leaders of Tomorrow, and PE Mentorship. She will be attending college at Northern Kentucky University where she will pursue a degree in business with minors in health sciences and Spanish.

"I started the week before tryouts my freshman year of high school and was using a set of clubs that were seventeen years old. My dad and I would go play the first, second, and ninth holes at Firestone Public over and over again at night."

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Ben Ellis

Doylestown, Ohio

Ben graduated from Chippewa High School this year with a 4.16 GPA. Ben was a member of the National Honor Society and was even NHS president during his senior year. His favorite class in high school was A.P. U.S. History because of the impact of his teacher, Mr. Liptak. He was also a multi-sport athlete, playing golf and baseball in high school in between his numerous community service activities. Ben has also been playing the piano since second grade, and still enjoys playing. Ben feels that golf has been helpful in keeping his composure; you can’t tell whether he hit a good shot or a bad shot. At the end of his interview with the Scholarship Committee, he told the committee that his house is the place to go if you want a wiffleball game in Doylestown. He will be attending college at Siena Heights University where he will pursue a degree in Global Studies and International Politics.

“I want to graduate college with as little debt as possible. I’ve watched my parents struggle with their student loan debt and my goal is to come out with as little debt as possible. College is extremely expensive...taking a little more burden off of my parents and me is my goal.”

The Northern Ohio PGA Section Foundation is a non-profit organization founded to support the Northern Ohio community, with a focus on junior golf, education and scholarships, and charities in the area. The Northern Ohio PGA Section Foundation falls under the direction of the Northern Ohio PGA, a non-profit organization comprised of over 370 men and women PGA Professionals serving as experts in business and the game of golf.

About the NOPGA Section Foundation Scholarship

This is the first year that that the Northern Ohio PGA Section Foundation is going to award a local student with a $10,000 scholarship to assist with their college education. The student selected to receive the $10,000 scholarship will receive it in $2,500 increments annually over the course of four years. In order to receive funding each year, additional paperwork including a copy of the student's transcript must be submitted to the NOPGA Section Foundation to ensure the student is performing at an acceptable level.

Scholarship Purpose/Applicant Eligibility

The purpose of the NOPGA Section Foundation Scholarship is to encourage and promote the attainment of higher education goals among Northern Ohio students.

Eligible applicants must be high school seniors who are currently:

A permanent resident of Northern Ohio
A past or current member of a golf organization (NOPGA Junior Tour, Drive Chip & Putt, PGA Junior League, High School Golf Team, Ohio Girls Golf Foundation, etc.)
Hold a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (based on a 4.0 scale)
Plan to enroll as a full-time student at an accredited college or university in the United States

Along with the application, the applicant must submit the following information:

A copy of his/her most recent transcript
A personal statement
2 letters of recommendation
Financial Information

For more information on the 2022 Scholarships, email Danielle Nicholson at or call the Section Office at (216) 765-1214!