Each year, a golf tournament to raise scholarship funds for children of Marines and Navy corpsmen continues to grow, and sponsors hope this year will be no different.
The 15th annual “Carolina Classic” will be held Oct. 19 and 20 at Camp Lejeune on the Gold Course and at Cherry Point at the Sound of Freedom golf course. The two-day tournament is part of a nationwide effort to provide scholarships through the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
Tom Braaten, co-chairman of the Carolina Classic, said he expects the two days of golf will draw more than 220 golfers from individuals and company teams to Marines, sailors and veterans.
“We are hoping to raise a good chunk of money to keep the scholarships going,” Braaten said. “We hope to raise about $150,000.”
So far the Carolina Classic has raised $1,712,467 as part of the scholarship program. Those funds helped generate $4,555,474 worth of scholarships for North Carolina students, Braaten said.
“We are getting four-to-one for what we raise, which is great,” he said.
When the scholarship tournaments started at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point in 1998-99, it helped benefit 42 students in North Carolina. Last year, the tournament benefited 213 students, Braaten said.
Since the Carolina Classic started, it has award 1,637 scholarships to mostly students of the enlisted on a “needs basis” and for merit, he said.
“We wanted to say thanks to them (the enlisted men and women) by sending their kids to school,” Braaten said.
Nationally, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has funded nearly 30,000 scholarships valued at more than $70 million since its inception in 1962. Last year, more than $6 million was awarded to 1,909 students nationwide.
North Carolina usually garners the most scholarships awarded through the fundraisers, Braaten said.
“We’re not the biggest fundraiser, but we are the largest of any of the states as far as how many scholarship recipients we have, and I think that is great,” he said.
About 86 percent of the students who get the scholarships graduate, and 54 percent of the scholarship recipients are first-generation college students, Braaten said.
Anyone wishing to be a sponsor of this year’s Carolina Classic scholarship tournament may contact Braaten at 349-6962 or go to the website www.mcsf.org.
Eddie Fitzgerald is a reporter for the Sun Journal.