Our annual Golf-Fore-Kids Scholarship Tournament is a fun day of golf for a great cause. It is a day that our returning players look forward to for many reasons – the great course, the fast play, the good food and camaraderie and because it really makes a difference in children’s lives. The day concludes with a Cocktail Party where, among other things, the players receive their awards and the $10,000 Grand Prize raffle winner is drawn. It is also when the annual Ben Surowiecki Scholarship is awarded.
Ben Surowiecki was the husband of our founding Principal, Mary Surowiecki, who in “retirement”, still teaches at St. Martin’s. Ben’s involvement and commitment began before St. Martin’s opened and continued throughout his life.
In our early years, most of his energy went into behind the scenes work—the painting, the repairing—work that made SMPA a welcoming place for our students and staff. He also tutored at St. Martin’s.
He was an exceptional golfer and understood how important a skill like golf could be in someone’s life for the physical benefits and the social ones. Ben was one of the founders of the First Tee program at St. Martin de Porres Academy, working in conjunction with the Yale golf team to introduce the sport to students who had never played before. In his humble, quiet and caring way, Ben’s passion for golf has impacted many of our students.
Ben died unexpectedly in 2012. In his honor, Mary and their three sons established the Ben Surowiecki Scholarship Fund to provide high school tuition assistance to St. Martin students. The scholarships are presented annually at Golf-Fore-Kids Scholarship Tournament.
Last year the Ben Surowiecki scholarship was awarded to Akil, Class of 2028.
While at SMPA, Akil was introduced to the game of golf through the First Tee golf program. He was involved in several other activities as well, including the Boy Scouts and the Drama Club where he served as the stage manager. He also learned to play the trumpet and became the Second Chair of the Orchestra.
“Everyone at SMPA wanted the best for me,” shared Akil. “Dr. O’Leary would tell me that I needed to lead by example for the younger kids. So, I would help kids with their homework and things like that.”
By the time he finished the 7th grade, Akil knew what he wanted to be and where he wanted to go to high school. In his birthday speech that year he wrote, “I want to go to Notre Dame High School and I want to be a teacher first, and then down the line, a principal, like Dr. O’Leary, maybe even at St. Martin’s one day.”
Akil is now attending his dream high school, Notre Dame, where he was voted Class President his Freshman year. He continues to play trumpet and joined the drumline in his Sophomore year, becoming its Captain his Junior year. Akil participated in a special Alumni Band Concert where alumni of all ages play with current students, is a member of the Drama Club and Marching Band and is joining the Chorus and Track next year, “… to be become more well-rounded before I apply to college,” he said. “SMPA helped me to learn that maturity is taking on a challenge bigger than you and growing and pushing yourself to achieve it.”
“Some people think privilege is having a lot. There are kids who have a lot and think that is not enough. There are also a lot of kids out there who would fight to be in the position I am in … to be in a school that can help you pay for tuition, having a laptop to use, and having access to the experiences and activities I have had at St. Martin’s. That is how I see privilege.”
– Akil, Class of 2028
Your participation in the Golf-Fore-Kids Tournament as a sponsor, player or through the purchase of a program ad or raffle ticket helps to provide education and opportunities for deserving kids. It truly is a good day for a great cause!