PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – In this seemingly never-ending winter, a summer on the golf greens sounds pretty nice.
An internship program between Portland Parks and Recreation and the Western Golf Association is helping put kids through school with an appreciation for the game who may have never considered the sport.
You don’t have to actually play the game to enjoy the game – a casual observer, how about a caddie? How about a caddie gig that leads to a college education?
Franklin High senior Tenzing Norzin spent the past two summers doing caddie loops at Eastmoreland Golf Course.
Raised in a small Tibetan settlement in southern India, the now trilingual 17-year-old moved to Portland with her family in 2012.
“I live in a family of five and my parents are both dishwashers and house keepers,” Norzin said.
Norzin’s time on the bag has driven her to a huge payoff.
“In American culture, I guess I learned that we may be different, but we aren't totally different,” she said. “At the end of the day, we all just want to be respected and treat each other with respect.”
She’s now a future Duck after earning a full ride to higher learning at the University of Oregon as an Evans Scholarship winner.
“It's too good to be true,” Norzin said. “A job and an opportunity for a full ride?”
Portland Parks Golf and its EAGLE Caddie program – Early Adventures in Golf for a Lifetime of Enjoyment – has assisted more than 80 kids to gain scholarships since 1992.
“I thought Tenzing was a natural for the program,” said Rob Cumpston.
It was the aid of longtime Eastmoreland concessionaires, Rob and Clark Cumpston, to pay her wages when funding for the EAGLE program went away.
“We saw the benefit of how it's influenced young people’s lives and decided it's really a no brainer,” said Cumpston.
And it was the encouragement from Cumpston and Norzin’s guidance counselor with the Quakers, Holly Vaughn-Edmonds, to keep her moving towards that hole in one goal.
“She’s such a unique kid,” Vaughn-Edmonds said. “She is so, so warm and genuine and calm and compassionate and at the same time, dogged.”
Cumpston said, “She took great advantage of the opportunity to succeed and there is no doubt in my mind that she is going to be a success in the future.”
When Norzin arrives in Eugene in the fall, she’d like to study biochemistry and she’ll be looking for a caddie job too.
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