Majidizadeh, Sanches awarded First Tee scholarships

Two outstanding representative of the First Tee of Tulsa were awarded $5,000 renewable scholarships Saturday at the 15th anniversary celebration of the organization at its Mohawk Park headquarters.

Navid Majidizadeh, a 17-year-old recent graduate of Union High School, and Melody Sanches, who this spring completed schooling at Epic Charter School in Tulsa, were awarded the Jo Bob Hille Memorial Scholarship Awards.

Majidizadeh, who had a 4.9 grade point average at Union, will be attending Northeastern State University and playing golf for the RiverHawks. Sanches will be attending Oral Roberts University and studying pre med.

“They are amazing young people,” said First Tee of Tulsa Executive Director Janice Gibson. “The Hille Foundation was very generous in giving two scholarships this year and both are very deserving. Melody has given more than 1,000 hours of community service in addition to helping out with the community service that we provide and Navid has been very active in community service as well.”

Saturday’s ceremonies to mark the 15th anniversary included a golf carnival with various contests and a clinic in which former First Tee of Tulsa students who are current or former collegiate players returned to put on a show for the younger students. Those included Nadia Majidizadeh of the University of Tulsa, Baylee Price from NSU, Alexander Hughes from UCO, Chandler Wasson who recently signed with Oklahoma Wesleyan, First Tee assistant director Austin Quinten, Shane Kelly who played for Arkansas Pine Bluff and Eric Moore of Rogers State University.

A plaque to honor First Tee of Tulsa co-founder John B. Johnson was revealed and will be mounted in the First Tee clubhouse. Johnson passed away in 2015.  He and Southern Hills General Manager Nick Sidorakis worked together to find the initial funding for First Tee of Tulsa and to build the clubhouse, renovate nine holes of Pecan Valley and build practice facilities. 

In its 15 years, First Tee has touched the lives of more than 42,000 students at its facility and countless more through outreach programs at various schools, parks and other facilities. It will operate a satellite program at Page Belcher Golf Course in west Tulsa this year.

Through the efforts of Sidorakis, Johnson and the Southern Hills Foundation, the Tulsa First Tee chapter has become a national model of success. None of it would happen without the tireless work of Gibson, the former LPGA Tour player whose passion for helping children knows no bounds.

“It was a really amazing day,” Gibson said. “To think it’s been 15 years already. Everyone was there to honor Mr. Johnson and we had a huge celebration. The clinic was great and the carnival. We had exploding golf balls and an island green they hit to in the lagoon. The kids just loved it.”

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