Varsha Nekkanti has a lot to smile about these days. Pictured above, she has just holed out on a par 3. A hole-in-one. A rising senior at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Nekkanti has been a participant at The First Tee of Silicon Valley for 10 years. She is one of three First Tee golfers awarded the John Deere Power for Good Scholarship.
In addition to earning a $5,000 college scholarship, she won the opportunity to be a VIP guest and play in the pro-am at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Il., July 9–15.
Nekkanti was selected from a national pool of applicants based on an essay about how she is a ‘Power for Good’ through service in her community, school and neighborhood.
Her essay included a summary of the impact of her efforts and how her work is connected to the Nine Core Values learned through The First Tee and the game of golf.
Power for Good
To say that Varsha has become an action-oriented leader is an understatement.
To help spread her passion for social justice and increase awareness about global issues, she founded a Model United Nations Club at her high school.
“Now, three years later as club President, we have 25 active members, attend University of California workshops, and participate in regional MUN conferences,” Varsha says.
While maintaining a 4.83 GPA, Varsha is captain of her high school golf team and is a member of the National Honor Society, Speech & Debate team, South East Asia Association, Math Team, American Red Cross, School Ambassador, and Stanford Science and Math Circle.
In addition to serving as an intern in her school’s development department she also spent time as an accounting intern at The Tech Museum of Innovation.
As a junior coach, Varsha has contributed over 230 hours teaching golf to kids at The First Tee of Silicon Valley.
Through her work as a volunteer coach, she says that she began to see herself as an individual with the potential to conquer challenges and make an impact on kids in her community.
“The junior participants have not only been able to significantly improve their golf skills and knowledge of the game,Varsha says, but they have been able to develop a feedback-centered mindset while expressing their true identity in the safe and welcoming environment that The First Tee provides,”
“Varsha is an incredibly impressive young woman,” says George Maxe, President & CEO of The First Tee of Silicon Valley. “She is highly intelligent, poised, and determined to make a difference.”