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#BrendonBirdies … 14 times

PGA TOUR winner Brendon Todd fired a final round four-under par 66 to put an exclamation point on the end of his first-ever appearance in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the season-ending event of the PGA TOUR. Todd, who visited the new Drew Charter School Junior and Senior Academy earlier this week, pledged $500 for every birdie made during tournament week to the East Lake Foundation. He finished with 14 birdies on the week, including an impressive seven in Sunday’s final round at East Lake Golf Club, and will donate $7,000 to support the mission and work of the foundation.

Todd picked up birdies on Nos. 1, 3, 4, 6, 14, 15 and 18 on Sunday, finishing with a four-round total of three-over par 283.

On Tuesday, Todd toured the new Charles R. Drew Charter School Junior and Senior Academy and pledged to donate $500 to the foundation for each birdie he made this week. Todd, an Atlanta resident and University of Georgia graduate, won the HP Byron Nelson Invitational earlier this year and tallied seven top 10 finishes in 2014.

The East Lake Foundation collaborates with public and private organizations to provide tools that enable Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a better future through its model for community revitalization which includes mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education and community wellness. Net proceeds from the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola go to the foundation and the First Tee of East Lake.

The opening of the new Junior and Senior Academy enables Drew Charter School to expand to include high school grades, completing the school’s “cradle-to-college” education mission, a goal since the East Lake Foundation began its work in the community in 1995. Drew Charter is ranked first among all Atlanta Public Schools elementary schools and third among its middle schools.

Simone Obleton

Drew Student Spotlight: Simone Obleton

This week, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the brightest stars at the Drew Charter School. Here we talk to Simone Obleton, a 14-year-old in 10th grade at the Drew Charter School Senior Academy.

Who is your favorite teacher at Drew?: Dr. Spearman is my favorite teacher at Drew because her teaching style is amazing. For example, she goes above and beyond to bring out the potential in a student.

What is your favorite class at Drew?: My favorite class at Drew is Spanish II honors. The class is interactive so we aren’t just sitting down the whole time like a regular class. Plus we are allowed the chance to converse with students in Colombia as one of our projects.

My favorite memory from Drew is: … college and career week in ninth grade.

How has your experience at Drew prepared you for the future?: My experience at Drew has prepared me for my future by showing me time waits for no one. When deadlines approach you, you either have what you need or you don’t.

What do you plan to do when you graduate?: When I graduate I plan to go to college on a golf or academic scholarship. Then I want to major in electrical engineering.

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Walking Through History: The “Greatest Shot”

Standing at the tee of the fourth hole of East Lake Golf Club poses a daunting challenge for any golfer. The 440-yard par four is guarded by a pair of fairway bunkers on the right and ample, thick rough on the left, and it’s proven to be one of the most challenging holes in the 2014 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

It’s also a place where a little bit of history was made more than a century ago. Back then, the hole actually played in reverse, with the tee and green flip-flopped. It was the old 12th hole in the original Tom Bendelow design before Donald Ross’s redesign put the course in its modern day configuration.

It was here in 1913 that Ted Ray, playing alongside Harry Vardon in an exhibition match, wowed a young Bobby Jones. Ray launched a 170-yard “mashie-niblick” over a tree, landing it softly just a few feet from the pin. In the crowd that day was Jones who, later in life, proclaimed it “the greatest shot I ever saw …”

For someone who delivered his own collection of breathtaking shots, that’s quite a pronouncement.

Roland Blanding copy

Drew Student Spotlight: Roland Blanding

This week, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the brightest stars at the Drew Charter School. Here we talk to Roland Blanding, a 15-year-old in 10th grade at the Drew Charter School Senior Academy.

Who is your favorite teacher at Drew?: My favorite teacher is my adviser Mr. O’Neill. He truly represents a growth mindset, not only by showing the presentations, but by being a problem solver and inspiring everyone to nurture their strengths and strive past their weaknesses.

What is your favorite class at Drew?: My favorite class at Drew is AP World History. I was always told that one cannot know where they are going if they do not know where they come from. The concept of knowledge and all of the technological advancements that lead to this day are infinitely engaging.

My favorite memory from Drew is: … being in the practice gym with all the benefactors of the new building, having the chance to appreciate them for all of their help in this marvelous building.

How has your experience at Drew prepared you for the future?: I prepare academically for adulthood every day with rigorous courses. The most prominent change I have noticed in myself is the growth and maturation of my character, which is built by the inevitably harsh, but dichotomously beautiful environment of high school.

What do you plan to do when you graduate?: I plan to study political science for four years, either at Case Western University or New York University, and after that become a politician.

Kennedi Bradshaw

Drew Student Spotlight: Kennedi Bradshaw

This week, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the brightest stars at the Drew Charter School. Here we talk to Kennedi Bradshaw, an 11-year-old in sixth grade at the Drew Charter School Junior Academy.

Who is your favorite teacher at Drew?: Mr. Richard because science is my favorite subject.

What is your favorite subject at Drew?: Science because I work harder on it and that makes it my favorite.

My favorite memory from Drew is: Field day because we won in tug of war!

How has your experience prepared you for the future?: I’ve been able to get good grades because I have to work harder.

What do you plan to do when you graduate?: When I graduate I will like to be the next Tiger Woods or become a caddy for a golfer.

Casey Sheppard

Drew Student Spotlight: Casey Sheppard

This week, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the brightest stars at the Drew Charter School. Here we talk to Casey Sheppard, a 14-year-old in ninth grade at the Drew Charter School Senior Academy.

Who is your favorite teacher at Drew?: My favorite teacher at Drew is Ms. A.J. Ms. A.J. is my favorite teacher because she keeps us thinking and challenges us in every way. Also, she treats us like her friend which makes it easier to communicate with her.

What is your favorite class at Drew?: Biology with Dr. Spearman is my favorite class because it is more hands on activities and learning, and that helps me become more independent.

My favorite memory from Drew is: When my friends and I started a club in library during lunch. We created memories and talked each others’ ears off and laughed until we turned purple!

How has your experience at Drew prepared you for the future?: It has prepared me in many ways like becoming more confident, organized, independent and college-ready.

What do you plan to do when you graduate?: When I graduate I plan on attending Auburn and becoming a successful marine biologist or zoologist.

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Yacht Rock Revue wakes up East Lake

The soothing sounds of 1970s music greeted fans early on Saturday morning at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. The Wake Up with Yacht Rock Revue presented by SERVPRO was open to anyone who had a ticket to the day’s third round of action.

Bobby Jones posing with Grand Slam trophies, 8x10, 1930

Walking Through History: The Legacy of Bobby Jones

Regarded as the greatest amateur golfer ever, Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones Jr. learned the game of golf at his home course of East Lake. East Lake would prove to be the foundation on which Jones built his remarkably successful golf career.

His path, however, might have taken a different journey if he hadn’t fallen ill with whooping cough and measles as a child. His parents, determining the fresh air of the country would benefit the sickly child, moved to a boarding house near East Lake. Shortly after settling into the new summer home, Jones turned to golf.

A child prodigy, Jones styled his swing after Stewart Maiden, the club’s professional. At the age of six, he won his first tournament (though Jones, ever a gentleman, always contested it was actually won by fellow East Lake resident Alexa Stirling). He captured the Atlanta Athletic Club’s Junior Championship when he was nine by besting someone seven years older than him. He reached the third round of the U.S. Amateur Championship by 14 and won the U.S. Open at 21.

Between that initial win at the U.S. Open in 1923 through his victory in the 1930 U.S. Amateur Championship, he tallied 13 major championships in 20 tries. After becoming the only golfer to ever win the “Grand Slam”, Jones, who never turned professional, retired from competitive golf at the age of 28 to pursue a career in business.

Aside from his unmatched skills on the course, Jones was lauded for his contributions to game. He is regarded as the standard bearer for conduct on the course, a remarkable evolution of character given his temper as a youngster. He penned a series of instructional books and movies on golf, shooting many of the films at East Lake, and the level of integrity he brought to the game has provided guidance to the generations of golfers that followed him.

After passing in 1971, Jones was buried at Oakland Cemetery, just a few miles west of East Lake. Today, lovers of the game still make the pilgrimage to his grave, leaving golf balls by the tombstone to pay respect to the unrivaled contributions Jones left on the sport.

Charlie Yates, age 22, teeing off, U.S. Open at Oakmont, 8x10, 1935

Walking Through History: Charlie Yates

Among the many notable accolades of East Lake Golf Club is its roster of champions. Known as the “Club of Champions” in golfing circles, East Lake is the only American club that is home to two winners of the British Amateur Championship.

Bobby Jones, regarded as the greatest amateur golfer of all time, won the title in 1930, while Charlie Yates captured the crown in 1938.

Mentored by Jones, Yates emerged as one of Georgia’s most dominant amateur golfers in the 1930s.  He won the Georgia Amateur title in 1931 and 1932 and the 1934 NCAA Championship while studying at Georgia Tech. He competed on two Walker Cup teams and capped off his run with the British Amateur crown in 1938.

Yates competed in The Masters 11 times, earning low amateur honors a record five times. In 1935, he was playing in the group ahead of Gene Sarazen when the latter made his historic double eagle on the par five 15th hole.

Off the course, Yates was well known for his community involvement and support of charitable causes. He was named as president of the Atlanta Arts Alliance, now known as the Woodruff Arts Center, by former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., where he helped raise $20 million to build the High Museum of Art. He also served as southern regional chairman of the USO and was involved with the Atlanta Symphony, Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Atlanta.

In 1980, he was honored with the prestigious Bob Jones Award for Sportsmanship, considered to be the top honor in the game.