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Park City High School senior Jack Hanskat earns free ride as Evans Scholar
By Ben Ramsey with ParkRecord.com
Jack Hanskat has officially been named an Evans Scholar — the first in the state of Utah to win the caddying scholarship.
In short, it means that Hanskat will attend the University of Washington in Seattle without paying a dime in tuition. It also means he will stay in a house just for Evans Scholars when he reaches his sophomore year. The Park City High School senior earned the scholarship by meeting certain criteria — such as GPA and financial need — and by caddying at Park Meadows Country Club. There was also a certain amount of paperwork required, including recommendations, and an official interview conducted by trustees, which had been a source of nervousness for Hanskat. He had been plied with stories about athletes passing out at the podium, provided gratis by the scholarship's local proponent and trustee, Buffy Mayerstein.
But Hanskat said the interview had gone much better than he had hoped.
“His interview was really interesting,” said Mayerstein on Monday when he and others congregated at Park City High School to celebrate Hanskat's acceptance. “He was in a borrowed suit and tie to begin with, and following a very charming young lady who was also going to Washington. He answered all their questions and the audience was really taken aback by our man from Utah, that's for sure.”
It was a big moment for Hanskat's parents. They wanted Jack to get out of Utah and see the world, starting with an out-of-state university, but his father, Randy, said the price tag of $35,000 per semester in tuition was prohibitive.
Becoming an Evans Scholar provided a way forward, and because Hanskat was a captain on the PCHS golf team, he had the chops to make it worth golfers' time to hire him as a caddie. With the Mayersteins' help and Park Meadows Country Club's blessing, the project took off, and several high school caddies started working toward the requisite 90 loops for becoming an Evans Scholar.
Damon Rodgers, the general manager at Park Meadows, said having caddies working toward the Evans Scholarship added “another source of community to the club.”
“We try and do things for the community throughout, but it's kind of hard to beat this one,” he said. “I think it's a great program for us and for them.
The Hanskats knew their son was getting close to earning the scholarship when they received an email saying he was in the finals a few months ago.
“I was out in the front yard, and I heard this scream,” Randy said. “I literally thought a pipe broke or something, something bad.”
But the scream was just an expression of Jane Hanskat's delight at seeing her son was an Evans Scholar contender.
Eventually the final letter came.
“When I opened the letter, I started reading the first line out loud and my mom started crying right away,” Hanskat said. “Seeing the relief in both their faces was the coolest part of the whole thing, and being able to give back to them is incredible.”
Hanskat's scholarship has drawn parallels from his friends and clients to the 1980 sports comedy “Caddyshack,” in which a young caddy named Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe) struggles to determine his future and raise money for college.
He said the movie has come up in conversation more times than he can count.
“My neighbor, who is part of our usual golfing foursome, before the interview he sent a little gift bag, and it had a card in there that said 'Good luck, Danny Noonan,' and in there was a Bushwood Country Club T-shirt,” Hanskat said.
But his scholarship is no joke. To maintain his good status, he has to keep his grades up and take rigorous courses through the end of his senior year — no senioritis allowed.
Other than that, he is taken care of, and he hopes that others will follow his example and the example of those that helped him reach his goal over the past three summers.
“As much as people think Park City is full of a bunch of rich kids, that's not the truth behind it,” Jack said. “And there are a lot of kids that could use this scholarship. I'm excited that not only I got the scholarship, but I have the opportunity to help other kids out.”
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