Portland Public Golf program helps send four students to University of Oregon

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Portland Parks & Recreation announces winners of full college scholarships; applications accepted for EAGLE Caddie program
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POSTED MARCH 19, 2018 (updated March 28, 2018)

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation announces winners of full college scholarships; applications accepted for EAGLE Caddie program.

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2018 Evans Scholarship winners Victoria Dang, Joseph Goodwin, Anthony Nguyen, and Taylor Phomphakdy, will all attend the University of Oregon beginning this fall, on full scholarships, thanks in part to PP&R’s EAGLE Caddie program. Photos courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, Oregon.

Four Portland-area students who take part in the Portland Parks & Recreation EAGLE Caddie program (Early Adventures in Golf for a Lifetime of Enjoyment) have earned full housing and tuition scholarships through the Evans Scholars Program: Parkrose High School senior Thu Victoria Dang, Parkose High senior Joseph Goodwin, Benson High senior Anthony Nguyen, and Parkrose High senior Taylor Phomphakdy. The quartet have been awarded full scholarships to the University of Oregon, beginning this fall.

Evans Scholarships are supported by the Western Golf Association, and valued at more than $100,000 over four years. The requirements for becoming an Evans Scholar are based on having financial need, good grades, a strong caddie.

“I offer my heartfelt congratulations to these students for showing tremendous drive and initiative,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “I am happy they have earned the Evans Scholarship to continue their education, demonstrating the success of an important partnership between Portland Parks & Recreation’s Golf Program and public and private high schools.”

One of the scholarship recipients is Parkrose High School standout Taylor Phomphakdy.

“I literally cried tears of joy,” says Phomphakdy. “There’s nothing I’ve been wanting more than to be the first in my family to attend a four-year university. But to get a full ride feels absolutely unreal. It still feels like a dream to me. I may be getting a full ride to UO, but I am forever indebted to the EAGLE Program because of the lifetime of opportunities it’s now opened me to.”

The EAGLE program is a unique internship program that is a cooperative venture between Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), Western Golf Association, and public and private high schools located within the city of Portland, aimed at introducing students to all aspects of golf course operation. Qualified students are paid an hourly wage, receive work credit hours, and have a mentor who monitors their progress. In addition, scholarship opportunities are available from their involvement in our program. Since 1992, over 80 students have successfully completed college on Evans Scholarships received through PP&R’s EAGLE program. In addition to the scholarships, the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Foundation funds the EAGLE Caddie Program. As a part of the EAGLE program, Dang, Goodwin, Nguyen, and Phomphakdy served as caddies for 80 separate 18-hole rounds during the 2016 and 2017 summer golf seasons.   

“I can see many more exciting milestones in Thu, Anthony, Joseph, and Taylor’s futures,” says Portland Parks Director Mike Abbaté. “I’m proud that they have worked so hard in school, and in the EAGLE Caddie program, to be able to continue their superb academic achievement, and on full scholarships. The EAGLE program is one more way we provide our mission of ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland’.”

About the 2018 Scholarship Winners

Thu Victoria Dang is a Vietnamese immigrant who has lived in Portland since 2011. She attends Parkrose High School and lives with her mother and father. As she began middle school, Victoria only spoke a handful of English words. However, she was able to successfully exit the school’s English as a Second Language program by the end of 8th grade. Now she’s a freshman-to-be at the University of Oregon, on a full-ride scholarship.

Joseph Goodwin is a top student at Parkrose High School who believes his best attributes are his perseverance, and ability to adapt to his surroundings. Joseph is excited to begin college, and plans to attend medical school to become an anesthesiologist.

Anthony Nguyen attends Portland’s Benson High School and says that education is his top priority. Anthony notes that higher education is not affordable to everyone. Earning the Evans Scholarship means that Anthony will be the first member of his family to go to college.

Taylor Phomphakdy is a standout at Parkrose High School. Her teachers refer to Taylor as a role model, as she consistently helps other students understand new material, and to thrive. Taylor also serves on the AVID student council.

More EAGLES Needed - Teens Welcome to Apply Now

PP&R’s EAGLE caddie program is accepting applications from qualified freshmen currently enrolled at public and private high schools located within the City of Portland. Students interested in joining the EAGLE Caddie Program should contact Portland Parks & Recreation’s Carolyn Lee at carolyn.lee@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-5076.

The program works by introducing students to all aspects of golf course operation through paid work and instruction. Qualified students are paid an hourly wage, receive work credit hours and have a mentor who monitors their progress. In addition, scholarship opportunities valued at more than $100,000 over four years are possible through the program.

“The EAGLE Program gave me the experience of working, but it also helped me grow as a person,” adds Phomphakdy, the Parkrose High senior. “Over the past two years I’ve learned to speak up, to break out of my shell, to be more patient, and to always be hardworking because it will pay off in the end. The EAGLE Program and caddying has given me the best two summers of my life.”

A history of interest in the game of golf is not required. EAGLE Caddie students successfully completing the program become eligible to apply and compete for an Evans Scholarships in their senior year. This scholarship provides college tuition and housing at the University of Oregon and may be renewed for up to four years, valued at more than $100,000.


  • Only freshman attending public and private high schools within the city of Portland* are eligible to apply for this three-year program;
  • Students who are selected for the program work on the golf course at minimum wage;
  • All participants are required to work full-time during the summer;
  • Must have good attendance in school;
  • Must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5;
  • Must come from a financially disadvantaged family;
  • Must go into the EAGLE Program with the expectation of completion; and
  • Must submittwo (2) letters of recommendation from a school counselor and/or teacher.

The deadline for applications has been extended to Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

*Students who attend high schools that are not located within the city of Portland may click here to find golf and country clubs with caddie programs in their area. 

About the Evans Scholarship

Famed golfer Charles "Chick" Evans, Jr. grew up in the Chicago area in the early 1900s. Evans earned money by caddying at the local country club. Wanting to go to college, he found that he could not afford it, nor was there anyone to help him. In 1916, Evans won both the US Amateur and the US Open golf tournaments, and with the victories came considerable wealth and fame. Determined to help others in his former situation, he started the Evans Scholars Foundation. It is currently one of the country’s largest, privately funded scholarship programs.

Supported by the Western Golf Association, the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship provides full housing and tuition to deserving caddies across the country. Currently, 965 caddies are attending college on scholarship; there are more than 10,600 Evans alumni worldwide. Most Evans Scholars attend one of the 14 universities where the Foundation owns and operates a Scholarship House.

The Evans Scholars Program is funded by contributions from more than 32,000 supporters nationwide, as well as Evans Scholars Alumni and proceeds from the BMW Championship. Portland Public Golf Manager John Zoller is a proud to be an Evans Scholar alumnus. 

The requirements for an Evans Scholar are based on financial need, good citizenship, and being a top student and caddie.

For more information, visit the WGAESF website.

About Portland Public Golf – Celebrating 100 Years!

Portland Public Golf offers affordable, quality golf to Portland's residents and visitors. Our five golf courses are conveniently located around the metro area to offer unparalleled access to our nationally recognized courses: EastmorelandHeron Lakes - Great Blue, Heron Lakes - Greenback, RedTail, Rose City and newly acquired Colwood Golf Course.

Portland Public Golf has been meeting the recreation and golf needs of the Portland community since 1917. We have a long history of presenting successful, high-profile golf events and tournaments. Portland is the only municipality in the country to have hosted four USGA national championships, and has played host to a number of events.

Every year, 400,000 rounds are played on Portland Public Golf courses. We are proud to offer lessons by trained golf professionals, meeting and hospitality facilities, and public and private events and tournaments at each of our properties.