The Western Golf Association (WGA) and the Chick Evans Scholars Foundation have selected Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduating senior Gianmarco Petrelli the 2017 Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship recipient.
Gianmarco, the son of Mark and Ragdha Petrelli, is one of 900 college students receiving the full tuition and housing scholarship for golf caddies that is renewable for up to four years. His selection was based on his caddie record, his excellent academics at H-F, outstanding character and financial need.
“Caddying has put me in situations that made me grow emotionally, physically and mentally. I simply would not be the man I am today, had I not spent every day of my summer at a truly remarkable job,” he said of his work at Olympia Fields Country Club.
During the summer months Gianmarco would be at the club when it opened at 6 a.m.
“The earlier you got out, the more of a chance you had to caddie twice or even three times in a day. My goal on most days was to try and get out twice because the WGA likes to see dedicated caddies,” he explained. He was among the 300-plus caddies at the club to finish with the most rounds.
“I started caddying because I simply have always loved golf. When I was 5, I remember attending the U.S. Open that Olympia Fields Country Club hosted in 2003. If any one event sparked my interest in the game, it definitely would have been that championship,” he said.
He also credits his aunt and uncle, Susan and Jeffrey Aprati, members of the club, who encouraged him to try caddying.
Gianmarco is a caddy who knows the game of golf, so getting clubs for the players hasn’t been an issue, although he found “the hardest part is usually telling apart different hybrids or wood – some of their labels aren’t as clear as the irons are.”
His scholarship will be used at Miami University of Ohio where he will major in marketing and minor in Spanish.
“I think the rankings for my major, the campus and the university as a whole was just a perfect fit,” he said.
A resident of Chicago Heights, Gianmarco attended Western Avenue School and Parker Junior High. He has been in Advanced Placement (AP) courses at H-F since his freshman year and anticipates starting at Miami University with 51 college credits earned through AP.
He has been active in speech and theater. As a member of Viking Choir he participated in the choir’s European tour to Vienna, Budapest and Prague that “truly was a life changing experience. Choir and music in general played a big part of my life in high school.”
At H-F’s National Honor Society spring program, Gianmarco was presented a special award for accumulating more than 175 service hours, including serving as a golf coach for Special Olympics; working at summer camp through the Antiochian-Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America; and playing with Unified Soccer, an H-F High team made up of kids from H-F’s special education and academic programs.
He’s earned numerous awards throughout his H-F career. He is on the executive boards of the Thespian Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, Viking Choir and the H-F Speech Team. He is a tutor for the human geography class. He also was on the Junior Varsity tennis team at H-F and won third place in conference play last season.