THE PLAYERS Championship staff made an appearance at St. Augustine High School last Wednesday, March 21, to announce a $500,000 grant to the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD). Starting with the 2018-2019 school year, THE PLAYERS will sponsor the district’s CHARACTER COUNTS! program, which encompasses multiple character-building programs, as well as grants for teachers.
“For us, it’s just incredible to have a multi-year commitment by a business partner such as the PGA Tour,” SJCSD Superintendent Tim Forson said. “And it’s such an important issue for us, character building. We live in two worlds, with the academic growth, but also the personal growth, and the fact that they’re committing to that journey with us and our children is just an incredible opportunity for us.”
The official announcement was made by THE PLAYERS Executive Director Jared Rice at the school district’s 2018 Character Cup, which links academics and character education through Olympic-style athletic competition. The Character Cup, as part of the CHARACTER COUNTS! program, is one program that will benefit from THE PLAYERS’ sponsorship, in addition to the WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) Mentorship Program, the Link Crew Mentorship Program and the Pursuing Victory With Honor Program.
The sponsorship, Rice told the Recorder, is part of a 10-year commitment that THE PLAYERS made in 2011 to generate $50 million for youth-related charities.
“We want to do more for our area’s youth and our students, and this is an area that’s important to us and intrinsic in the game of golf,” he explained. “Golf is founded on honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. (We asked) ‘How can we tie those principals into improving people through school?’ and crafted this program together.”
Rice made the additional announcement that THE PLAYERS will be supplying every elementary and K-8 school in the district with equipment and curriculum from The First Tee Golf in Schools program, which emphasizes character-building in golf education. He then closed his remarks with a message to district students and staff.
“To our students: continue to work hard, represent our community with integrity and we’re very, very proud of you,” he said. “To our teachers and administrators in attendance: We appreciate you and hope that today’s announcement makes what you do a little bit easier as you continue to guide our young men, women and children through their education.”