GCS Students Build Character on the Golf Course

Thanks to a generous $60,000 donation from the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, students in Guilford County Schools are learning not just how to play the game of golf, but how to succeed in the game of life.

Through First Tee of the Triad, a chapter of the national First Tee program, the donation has provided the training and equipment to add the character-driven curriculum to physical education classes in 20 Title I elementary schools. The lessons are taught to students in kindergarten through fifth grade and combine golf skills with nine core values such as honesty, respect and perseverance.

For First Tee of the Triad President and CEO Mike Barber, golf and character development are a natural fit. After all, it's the only game without a referee, so players must rely on their integrity, which is another of the core values taught through the First Tee program.

"We're using golf as a vehicle," Barber says. "We would love to create good golfers, but our mission is to create good people."

Character development is a key initiative in Guilford County Schools, so the partnership, like a golfer and her caddy, is a perfect fit.

"I am thrilled that our students will have the opportunity to learn this wonderful game," said Pamela Stewart, principal at Falkener Elementary. "I know firsthand how much the game of golf can contribute to the character of an individual and help build confidence and integrity."

Jim Melvin, on behalf of The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, said, "We remain committed to our most important resource we have in our community, our 73,000 school children. The First Tee Curriculum which includes Core Values, Healthy Habits and a Code of Conduct, helps us fulfill our goal of creating both great students and great citizens. The Bryan Foundation is pleased to continue its support of and partnership with The First Tee of the Triad and our Guilford County Schools."

The 20 elementary schools participating in The First Tee program are:

  • Allen Jay Elementary
  • Archer Elementary
  • Bessemer Elementary
  • Cone Elementary  
  • Fairview Elementary
  • Falkener Elementary
  • Foust Elementary
  • Frazier Elementary
  • Gillespie Park Elementary
  • Hampton Elementary University Partnership Magnet
  • Irving Park Elementary
  • Montlieu Elementary Academy of Technology
  • Northwood Elementary
  • Oak Hill Elementary
  • Parkview Elementary
  • Rankin Elementary
  • Sedgefield Elementary
  • Sumner Elementary
  • Union Hill Elementary
  • Wiley Elementary