Evans Scholarship Changes a Caddies Life
May 27, 2021
By Jack Mendesh
Luke Kretchmer started caddying when he was 13 years old at Midland Hills Country Club. He was referred to caddying by his friends who said it was a great first job, one that allows you to meet and build relationships with influential members and work outside. Following a one-year stint at Midland Hills, he worked in the pro shop of Cedarholm Golf Course for one year. Being a caddie as his first job helped Luke cultivate a strong work-ethic at a young age.
His life would be changed one day when his uncle, who is an Evans Scholar Alumni, told him about the Evans Scholarship. From then on, he started to caddie again, this time at North Oaks Golf Club. He started in his junior year of high school. Luke applied for the Evans Scholarship his senior year of high school and did not receive it due to lack of caddie experience. He knew he would have to continue caddying through the next summer to have a chance to receive the scholarship. Knowing this, he paid his way through his freshman year at the University of Minnesota. During that year, he commuted to campus and worked 25+ hours a week at T-Mobile to ensure that he had enough money for his expenses.
After re-applying for the Evans Scholarship in the fall of his freshman year, he got the news that he received the scholarship and would be a three-year scholar recipient. Luke mentioned the impact it had on him and his family, “Receiving the Evans Scholarship is one of the best things that ever has happened to me. Not only the obvious financial relief it had on me and my family, but the community aspect of living in the Scholarship House allowed me to see different views and create lifelong friendships.” He also noted that the scholarship allowed him to focus on academics and enriched his social life. While he was in the Scholarship House, he was the ‘New Scholar Educator’, who is tasked with helping the freshmen in the house transition into college and with the fellow Scholars. This taught him the importance of creating a community and family feel within the Evans House to make everyone feel welcome.
The Evans Scholar’s give back to the community as much as they have received through the Scholarship. Having no financial burden allows them the time to volunteer at organizations around the Twin Cities. Receiving the Evans Scholarship taught Luke the importance of giving back to the community. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Luke dove head-first into purpose driven initiatives. He started his journey moving to China to teach English for the Peace Corps for two years. Following his move to China, he moved back to the Twin Cities to consult on a capacity-building project at a local nonprofit and then taught English for Teach for America in Clarksdale, MS. Starting this Fall, he will be teaching at the St. Paul School of Northern Lights. Having no financial debt from the Evans Scholarship, Luke was able to “follow his heart” into what he believed was altruistic work. Even more importantly, upon reflection, Luke noted, “Receiving the Evans Scholarship allowed me to be the person I was meant to be.”
That’s truly life changing!