The Joyce Taylor Eagle Award and $4,000 College Scholarship was presented to Shivani Patel at the First Tee – Silicon Valley 2021 Invitational fundraiser on Sunday, July 18th at CordeValle in San Martin, CA. Shivani was selected for consistently achieving academic excellence and exhibiting First Tee Nine Core Values and Life Skills.
The purpose of the award is to provide a high school student the financial hope of attending college. For Shivani, she wants to major in bio-science.
The scholarship was initiated by a very generous 9-year grant by PG&E several years ago by founding FTSV Board Director, Victor Arrañaga, Jr. Thank you to all our Invitational sponsors that help fund our programs: The returning sponsors were: Anheuser Busch, Altria, HP, Intuit, PG&E, PhRMA, SDG&E/SEMPRA, Noteware, Pappas and the new sponsor was Uber.
Shivani is a rising senior at Silver Creek High School. She joined FTSV in 2014 when she was in the 4th grade and is now a top-level ACE participant and Junior Coach. In her speech to the Invitational attendees, she shared “I had no idea how much the organization would positively impact my life. First Tee is a place that teaches you golf, but also teaches you life skills and helps you build relationships that you will have with you for the rest of your life.”
She went on to tell a story about her golf journey, “I vividly remember the first time I swung a golf club, in fact, it was at my first ever PLAYER class. I remember it feeling strange and my ball not getting far off the ground. Over time, First Tee coaches and participants guided me in turning my funky baseball-tennis-golf swing into a true golf swing. Because of them, I was able to play at many girls’ golf events and in the #1 spot for my high school’s varsity girl’s golf team. I know that without the FTSV’s support I would not have been able to make it to this point in my golf journey.”
Aside from golf, Shavani stressed the importance of the relationships she has formed every season with her coaches, her peers, and other leaders. She acknowledged the coaches genuinely want to see me be the best version of myself and give me the tools and confidence to do just that. They instill core values in participants to set them on a path to be good people and great leaders. She said, “First Tee has taught me values like perseverance and courtesy, but my favorite has to be integrity. I use integrity when keeping track of my score on the course and, especially now, when making decisions about my future. I believe self-integrity is about being true to your values and reflecting these principles through your actions.”
Shavani was also selected for her active role in her high school and community. Her accomplishments include the following:
- Varsity Swimmer at SCHS
- Founding Member, Captain & MVP of SCHS Girls Golf Team
- Founder & Secretary of SCHS Cognitive Science Club
- Founder & Publicist of SCHS Girls Who Code chapter
- Creative Commissioner of SCHS STEAM Lab Club
- Volunteer at Kaiser-Permanente
- Ambassador level Girl Scout
She concluded her speech by saying, “I am honored to be the one representing the First Tee of Silicon Valley with this award. Without the First Tee, I would not be the person I am today. I would not have the same skills, the same values, or have the same confidence in myself and even in those around me. I would also like to thank all those who sponsor this First Tee chapter. Your contributions and involvement impact many young lives, and for that we are thankful.”
Joyce Taylor (1957–2010) was a woman known for her intelligence, warmth, and elegance. She graduated with honors (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Oklahoma (OU) with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism. Joyce became a highly successful and respected business woman and community leader with a long career in telecommunications. In 1997, she was promoted to Regional President, Bay Area, and then Senior Vice President, External Affairs-Northern California, AT&T, where she oversaw legislative, governmental and external affairs activities in Northern California.
Joyce worked extensively with Bay Area business and community-based organizations. Her support of the Eagles at Rancho del Pueblo junior golf program was instrumental to its growth and success. In 2005, the program became First Tee — Silicon Valley to develop the character of youth through golf throughout Santa Clara County. Joyce’s support helped to build a solid program that has reached over 81,234 youth since 2005. The Joyce Taylor Eagle Award is given annually to provide financial assistance for college to a participant who has consistently achieved academic excellence and exhibited First Tee Nine Core Values and Life Skills.