Clayton County Public Schools Chief of Human Resources Douglas Hendrix (center) watches to see where his golf ball is headed, during the school system's second annual Promoting Student Achievement Golf Tournament, on Friday.
By Curt Yeomans
While anyone who went to the Lake Spivey Golf Club on Friday would have seen dozens of people playing golf, Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley said he could look out on the golf course and see something different.
He said he could see Clayton County high school graduates going to college.
"I know it is a bunch of people playing golf, but when I look out on the golf course, I see students carrying their college textbooks to class," said Heatley, as he looked out on the rolling hills of the golf course from the 15th hole.
"I see students in their college dorm rooms, and I see students studying in their college classes. That's what I see."
The school system held its second annual Promoting Student Achievement Golf Tournament scholarship fund-raiser on Friday. Proceeds from the tournament help fund Clayton County Public Schools' Superintendent's Scholarship program, which gives $1,000 college scholarships to students who graduate from the district's high schools.
There were 26 teams participating in the tournament this year, down from the 33 in last year's inaugural tournament, but organizers and school district officials said they still believe they had a successful tournament.
Ken Stackhouse, the tournament administrator, said sponsorships were still coming in the day before the tournament, so a total number of sponsors was not available Friday. "But, I know it is better than what we had last year," he said.
Heatley said more sponsors means this year's tournament may generate more money for scholarships than last year's event. Last year, the inaugural tournament generated approximately $25,000 for the scholarship fund, which is enough to fund two dozen scholarships.
If this year's tournament did, indeed, generate more money for scholarships, it will help the district meet Heatley's lofty plans for the graduating class of 2011.
"We're going to give out two scholarships per school this year," Heatley said. "Last year, we gave away eight scholarships, or one per school, but we increased the number this year, and we hope to keep increasing it every year in the future."
Heatley, and the rest of his golf team, which consisted of School System Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Phillips, Chief of Human Resources Douglas Hendrix, and Terry Beauford, the husband of Clayton County Chamber of Commerce President Yulonda Beauford, finished in first place. They had a team score of 55.
In addition to the tournament, the district also conducted an auction, in which items, such as a football signed by National Football League Hall of Famers from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and jerseys signed by members of the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team were offered.
The auction of some items, including the signed football, and a jersey signed by Atlanta Falcons Tight End Tony Gonzalez, turned into bidding wars between Heatley and other participants in the tournament.
He lost out on the jersey signed by Gonzalez, but eventually won the signed football at a steep, $225 price.
Heatley praised the people who participated in the tournament, during remarks at a post-tournament awards ceremony, and thanked them for their participation, on behalf of Clayton County Public Schools' more than 50,000 students.
"I know we come to you guys often for help, but in the nearly two years that I've been here, each time I have reached out to the community, you guys have responded incredibly," he said.