Posted: 6/14/2012

The First Tee Participants Recognized by RBS, Awarded Scholarships

St. Augustine, Fla. (June 14, 2012) – Ten participants of The First Tee were celebrated last night at a banquet hosted by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) that included World Golf Hall of Fame member and The First Tee Trustee Jack Nicklaus.

RBS, also a Trustee of The First Tee, presented awards to two finalists—Zakki Blatt of The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia and Jessica Martel of The First Tee of Northern Nevada—who each received a $15,000 scholarship to help fund their post-secondary education. The eight remaining semifinalists each received $3,000 for the same purpose.

“The RBS Achievers of the Year Award provides a unique opportunity for The First Tee to highlight some the exceptional stories of deserving participants within our network,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., chief executive of The First Tee. “Their remarkable ability to overcome challenges is nothing short of extraordinary. We are extremely grateful to RBS for making this event a special and memorable experience for The First Tee participants.”

The 2012 RBS Achiever semifinalists, whose biographies are featured The First Tee’s website, are:

• Zakki Blatt, 18, The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia
• Jasmine Gary, 17, The First Tee of the Triangle (NC)
• Jessica Martel,17, The First Tee of Northern Nevada
• Robert Mazziotti, 18, The First Tee of Metropolitan New York
• Sarah Novosel, 16, The First Tee of Greater Chicago
• Sade'cia Riggs, 16, The First Tee of the Triad (NC)
• Charlie Schuknecht, 16, The First Tee of South Dakota
• Christopher Snider, 16, The First Tee of St. Johns County (FL)
• Charles Spears, 17, The First Tee of Central Louisiana
• Tayvon White, 16, The First Tee of Lehigh Valley (PA)

The banquet took place at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, near the site of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club, and was attended by representatives from The First Tee, RBS, Golf Channel and the United States Golf Association, among others. Golf Channel’s Steve Sands served as the emcee.

“We congratulate all participants in this program, which we are proud to have founded eight years ago in partnership with The First Tee,” said RBS’s Bob McKillip, Co-Head of Markets & International Banking, Americas. “This award is about hard work and perseverance, two qualities that are at the core of our community investment programs and our global business.”

RBS launched Achievers of the Year with the goal of rewarding young, motivated students by helping to fund their ongoing education following high school.

“The mission of RBS Achievers is consistent with our key social responsibility principles of helping children and young people build a better future,” added McKillip. “Our funding helps enable these students to further their education, building on their clear potential and providing a solid foundation for their future.”

Now in its ninth year, the RBS Achievers of the Year award recognizes deserving participants of The First Tee for accomplishments in their daily lives while overcoming difficult circumstances. The scholarships are not based on academic performance or exceptional golf skills, but rather reward young people who exhibit The First Tee Nine Core Values™ while demonstrating leadership, community service and teamwork.

About The First Tee

The mission of The First Tee (, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization, is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. With its home office at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., The First Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in elementary schools and on military installations.

Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its values to more than 6.5 million young people in all 50 United States and six international locations. The First Tee is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation and its Founding Partners are LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the USGA. Shell Oil Company is The First Tee’s Founding Corporate Partner and Johnson & Johnson is its Legacy Partner. Former President George W. Bush serves as honorary chair.

About The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS)

The RBS Group is a large international banking and financial services company. Headquartered in Edinburgh, the Group operates in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Asia, serving over 30 million customers worldwide. The Group provides a wide range of products and services to personal, commercial and large corporate and institutional customers through its two principal subsidiaries, The Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, as well as through a number of other well-known brands including Citizens, Charter One, Ulster Bank, Coutts, Direct Line.

Media Contacts:

Monique Smith
The First Tee

Ed Canaday
Office: 203.897.1425, Mobile: 203.595.1349 
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