The First Tee reaches new heights

News Center Stories

February 12, 2016

The First Tee reaches new heights

Students in Coach Roderick Teplin's physical education class are vying for the title of "Best Putter," in a game many of them would have never had the opportunity to play were it not for The First Tee.

Nationally, The First Tee's goal is to involve 10,000 elementary schools by the end of 2017. Currently, more than 8,000 elementary schools are participating nationwide.

With the support of Southern Company and other partners, The First Tee National School Program introduces elementary school students to golf and nine core values within the physical education instructional setting.

Those values - honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment - have helped to reinforce student behavior and expectations during physical education at schools like Teplin's Deerwood Academy in Southwest Atlanta and other schools in Georgia, Alabama, Northwest Florida, Southeast Mississippi and greater Washington, D.C.

"Last year, The First Tee reached more than a quarter of a million students in elementary schools in Southern Company's markets, introducing the lifelong sport of golf, core values and nine healthy habits but also life skills that build character that will prepare them for success on and off the golf course," said Guy Garbarino, vice president of philanthropy at The First Tee.

Teplin's history with the program reaches back to 2014 when Southern Company and The First Tee of Atlanta partnered to introduce golf to the Atlanta Public Schools system. Teplin enjoyed teaching the program so much that he worked with the organization at John A. White golf course in Atlanta last summer and plans to take his fifth graders there on a field trip this year.

"I would like to thank Southern Company and The First Tee of Atlanta for the opportunity to introduce the game of golf on the elementary level in Atlanta Public Schools," said Teplin, who is in his 19th year of teaching.
 

The First Tee's growth

This is the fourth year in a five-year plan to reach 1,000 schools in the Southern Company system. To date, 471 schools supported by Southern Company have received The First Tee National School Program, reaching 266,872 students and 84 communities throughout the system.

2015 system highlights:

  • Total schools: 200
  • Alabama Power: 49
  • Georgia Power: 92
  • Gulf Power: 22
  • Mississippi Power: 22
  • Southern Company in Washington, D.C.: 15
  • Total estimated students impacted: 100,000
  • Total communities impacted: 54

Nationally, The First Tee's goal is to involve 10,000 elementary schools by the end of 2017. Currently, more than 8,000 elementary schools are participating nationwide.