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TIGER WOODS LEARNING CENTER MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 8, 2010
IRASEMA SALCIDO: Good afternoon, everyone. I am the founder of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy, and what an honor to be here with all of you.
As you know, we work hard every day to make sure that every one of you and all of our students are prepared to go to competitive colleges, but equally important, we want to work hard to make sure that you make a difference in your communities, and that's the focus at Chavez, as well.
That's why I'm so excited to have this partnership with the Tiger Woods Learning Center, because they, too, believe in the same vision that Chavez has, and that is to make sure the young people in America, especially young people in urban communities, get the same opportunities that any young person in this country, and that you will be prepared to go to college.
I had the pleasure to visit the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, California, and I was so impressed and I was really thinking to myself, my God, what can we do to make sure that we bring those resources to our students.
And I just cannot thank Tiger Woods Learning Center enough to make that dream come true for us to be able to have the centers here. And not only for us, but to know that more students from the District of Columbia will benefit from the centre.
So we are very excited to know that they are here in Washington, D.C. we welcome them. And I have the pleasure to introduce the CEO and president of the Tiger Woods Learning Center, Mr. Greg McLaughlin.
GREG MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you. For those of you that need seats, please come in if you like. There's some on the side right here. Like to thank you all for being here today. I don't know if the two of you knew you were going to get that kind of round of applause when you walked in. I heard you were popular in school but maybe not quite that. She is a graduate, right, of Cesar Chavez.
Four years ago when we started the process of trying to determine exactly how we were going to expand our Learning Center model, we looked at schools really across the country, mainly in the northeast, and here we are, today, expanding the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Washington, D.C. at Cesar Chavez School.
So I tell you that because there's a lot of thought, there's a lot of time, a lot of effort on a lot of people's part that really went into us coming here today. And we are honoured really to be here. We are honored to be part of your family and to partner with you as we go forward. And our goal, really, is to create opportunities for kids today through educational out reach, and that's really what we are doing through our Tiger Woods Learning Center.
So I'd like to begin by asking I guess all ninth graders here, when you came in today, did you think that you were going to have an experience like that today?
I'd like to thank a handful of people, but really our partners that have helped us in the launching really of this center, so bear with me: AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, Fannie Mae, HSBC, Lenovo, Microsoft and MTM Builder/Developer, Inc., and Supporting Sponsors Intelligent Decisions, Adobe Systems, Congressional Country Club, Baker Botts and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
If I could ask everyone to please give them a round of applause. Really without their help we would not be here today, so we are very thankful of that.
We have two centers that we are launching, the Parkside Campus, which is currently open right now, which is very exciting and also we are going to be in Capitol Hill within the next few weeks. For those of you who have not gone up stairs, we would certainly welcome you all to go today or another time as we veer in on our launch date but it's very exciting.
I want to thank Irasema, thank you very much, as well, Daneen Keaton, the principal, and all the staff for opening your doors to us, and allowing us, really, to put this program together in the last six months or so.
I would like to turn your attention now to the stage. I introduce two people but I wanted to take another moment actually and acknowledge our two students that are with us today. Ayanna Brooks, as I said, is a graduate here of Cesar Chavez and she is from the Washington, D.C. area. She is currently pursuing a communications degree and is attending Hood College in Maryland with aspirations of becoming a journalist. Fatou emigrated to the United States in 2006 2006 where he attended Howard Woodson High School in Washington, D.C.
He is currently a junior at the University of Idaho majoring in environmental engineering. Both of these students have attended Tiger Woods Learning Center programs and we have asked them to come here today and share their visions and experiences that they have had, so I thank them both for being here. With that, I'd like to introduce the founder of the Tiger Woods Foundation, Mr. Tiger Woods.
TIGER WOODS: Thank you all for coming. I prepared a speech but I'm not very good at reading, so I'm going to do this -- just kidding.
But it's been truly an honor for me to come here, because it really impacts what we are trying to do. It's the feeling of all you guys being as excited as you are, and you haven't experienced what we have to offer yet, which is the cool thing. Irasema and her staff have been incredible to let us come in here and share with all of you what we think you can do for you and for your lives and your careers, whatever direction you may choose.
We have had experience in this before with our Orange County facility out in Anaheim. It's been very successful. We are in robotics engineering, environmental studies, communications. So there's a lot of different things that you guys can delve into, but more importantly it's the understanding of how this can affect you as a career path.
Me personally, I grew up in a military household. I saw what a lot of my friends were doing, and decided not to go that path. I spoke with the people who guided me in my life and pointed me in the right direction, and thankfully I'm here, because I could easily have gone down the wrong direction. There were a lot of gangs in my high school; there's violence.
But thankfully there's people that cared about me and showed me the right direction and that's what people here at Cesar Chavez and our foundation, that's what we can provide to you guys. And I hope you guys take full advantage of that.
More importantly, I can say all of these different things, but I think it's more impactful if Ayanna and Fatou tell you about their experiences what has allowed them to go through life and now enter college and the experiences that they are now having because of the experience of our foundation.
AYANNA BROOKS: So just to reiterate what you already know, my name is Ayanna Brooks. I graduated from Chavez in 2009. I go to Hood College, I'm a sophomore and I'm studying communication arts and photography.
The Tiger Woods Learning Center, I got to go to the one in California, also, and it's just a great place to be. Like everyone there, the staff there, is very friendly. The students that were there, you could tell that they liked being there; that no one made them come because they needed help. It was just something that they wanted to do.
When we went there, we went to different workshops about public speaking, which is useful right now, about business etiquette and all types of things that will just help you once you're done with your high school experience. And when I went to Chavez, there was a program that allowed you to take classes in college and I was so upset that not a lot of people took advantage of it. Only three people I know of did it, like, you know, went and took the classes, and now that the center is here, I just hope that everybody takes advantage of it, because it really made a difference.
FATOU SOGOYOU-BEKEYI: I'm a junior at the University of Idaho and I'm studying engineering and basically I'm from D.C., too. I'm originally from West Africa but I went to Woodson and I graduated in '08, and I got here when I was a senior and the scholarship -- there was no way out, because they only took two people in the whole area, and so I did apply, and I did receive it, and thank you.
I did receive the other scholarships, too, but this is basically hands down the best one. They help you a lot. We went to Anaheim in California and I met the staff and the other students and let me tell you, they are really cool, keep in touch with you. They don't give you the money and like let's say, okay, go to school now and this stuff. They keep in touch with you and make sure you do good in class. It's like family. You guys are only in ninth grade and I think you should definitely take full advantage of this opportunity.
Last summer, for example, the foundation got an invitation for me with the EPA, and for someone studying environmental science, the EPA is what you want on your resume.
So basically what I am trying to say is stay involved and hopefully you learn a lot in life. Take full, full, full advantage of this opportunity. Thank you.
DANEEN KEATON: My name is Daneen Keaton and I'm the principal of the Capitol Hill Campus here and we have some scholars prepared to answer questions.
Q. What did you have to do to create the foundation and why was it created?
TIGER WOODS: What did I have to do. Well, my father and I, back in -- well, I was playing junior golf, and we used to do a lot of junior golf clinics when I was playing in junior events and when I was in amateur golf, I did the same. We couldn't do it when I was compete at Stanford. NCAA wouldn't allow us, because we were promoting the school.
Once I got out of college, my father and I created the foundation in 1997, and from there, we basically did junior golf clinics all around the country and for some reason, that was rewarding in the sense that it got people inspired and people excited about it, about golf, but I never felt a connection to it, because there's more to life than golf.
I was raised in which school always came first over golf. So I kept struggling with this whole concept of us playing golf and doing junior golf clinics all around the country, is one thing. But 9/11 happened. When 9/11 happened, I was in St. Louis and I had to drive from St. Louis home to Florida, and I was driving by myself. And I just felt that if I was the one in one of those buildings, or one of the planes, what would be left behind? Basically, it would be nothing. I felt like I hadn't done anything. Yeah, I can hit a golf ball, whatever it may be, but that's entertainment. I had not done anything to impact people.
So a couple of weeks later I came to my dad, and I said, "Pop, I've got an idea. We need to build something that's tangible that the kids can touch and feel and call their own and have them take ownership of it."
From then on, the Learning Center was created. We had had it in Orange County, and now we have it here in Capitol Hill and Parkside. So as these two eloquent speakers next to me both alluded to, take full advantage of this. Because look at the opportunities that they have now uncovered in their lives and the direction that they are now headed, because of this. And I really encourage you to get involved in the programs, but more importantly, encourage each other, because it is like a family. Hey, you can't do this alone. You need help. And it's amazing when you get support behind you, how many positive things can happen in life.
Q. Did you have a hard time learning certain things, and how is your education?
TIGER WOODS: Learning, yeah, learning was -- I felt was -- I always had a hard time writing. I wasn't a very big writer, but I was really good with numbers. Math, science, came very easy to me. Writing was certainly more challenging. But I just took it upon myself to become better at it and just kind of enjoyed that challenge.
Yeah, I was lucky enough and fortunate enough to get to go to a pretty good university, but I wouldn't have gotten into the university -- I have to thank my mom for that. My mom always made sure I had my homework done, and I couldn't go out and practice and play golf until I had my homework done. Didn't like that rule. Hated the rule. (Laughter) But I understand the discipline it put upon me. And you know, with that, I was able to get to Stanford University, and here I am.
Q. What type of experiences can you get out of your education, and do you wish you had a Learning Center when you were younger?
TIGER WOODS: You know, we didn't really -- we didn't have this when I was growing up. First of all, we were still on a computer that we didn't really know even worked. I think we had two computers in our whole school. Our computer lab was very different. Technology's changed quite a bit since then.
Yeah, I certainly wish I would have had this opportunity. I would have learned a lot more and been much more prepared when I entered college. I felt that I was -- I wouldn't say underserved, but I would say unprepared for what the challenges of a major university would entail. Taking college courses is one thing, but understanding what you have to do in being prepared for the college level, is a totally different experience.
And as Fatou was saying, he took college courses prior, and that does help. It's amazing how much that prepares you. But also, having people who are mentors in the programs you are taking, how much that helps. It empowers you. We get that a lot from a lot of the students about they didn't really understand how much it took; but being prepared to go to the next level, it's a lot more than you might think and you've got to make some tough choices. And always understand that you have a family back here behind you at the Tiger Woods Learning Center.
Q. Do the scholarships prohibit you from going to certain colleges or are they for any college?
TIGER WOODS: For any college.
Q. How does it feel to get a scholarship from Tiger Woods?
AYANNA BROOKS: It's amazing. I also had multiple scholarships, but this is by far the best one, because the staff is like always constantly checking in on you and they set you up with mentors who are extremely helpful. It's like you have someone to talk to throughout the whole college experience, transitioning, which can be very difficult from high school to college.
And then on top of that, during the summer, they try -- they work really, really hard to get you an internship in the area you're interested in, like Fatou got to work at the EPA. And they tried to get me to work at a paper, but already taken another position. I wish I would have known about it first. But it's amazing.
FATOU SOGOYOU-BEKEYI: It feels good. You're going to need money for college, anyway, so if you go to the Tiger Woods scholarship, they are here to help. And it's not like they give you to money, go to college like other foundations do, it's really like family. They are helping you and in touch with you. When I applied, I never thought about -- when I applied, they only picked two students in this area, me and Samika Michelle (ph). I don't know if you guys know her. It's going to help me a lot.
Q. What personally made you choose Cesar Chavez out of all schools on the East Coast? Do you feel you are doing the right thing building a center here?
TIGER WOODS: First is we have a tournament here at Congressional, the AT&T National. Obviously we are out for two years because of the U.S. Open coming here next year.
But we are coming back, and it's just a perfect symbiotic fit. We are an educational program and foundation, and we want to make something impactful here in the D.C. area. And what Irasema has done with her charter schools has been remarkable and I think it's just a perfect fit and we are seeing eye-to-eye on what we are trying to do and help all of you. I think we are very blessed to come here and help you guys, and we are very lucky.
DANEEN KEATON: I have a student in the audience who recently applied for something and didn't get it, and he was pretty devastated and he said he was never going to I try to do anything again and he was never going to putt himself out there again. In this conversation, I talked about Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team, he had a choice to either quit or practice and become great. Can you talk about a time, before you were famous time, where you suffered a failure or cut back and how you responded to that and how that led to success, your response to the failure?
TIGER WOODS: I think in my sport, it's very different, because in an individual sport, we lose a lot more than we win. I've become very good friends with Michael Jordan over the years, and he actually has said, he's missed more game-winning shots than he's made. So failure does happen. But success also comes out because of failure.
There's nothing wrong with keep putting yourself in that position. Pick yourself back up and do it again. I've lost many golf tournaments and I've had opportunities where things have gone wrong, and hey, it is what it is. Pick yourself up, move on, and learn from it. Every experience that -- one of the things that my father and I, we were very close and very tight, and every time we went out and practiced or played together, in the evenings, he always made sure that I learned something from each and every practice session. He said, "What did you learn today." And I always had to figure out what I learned from it.
I may have won a golf tournament that day; what did you learn from it. Well, I learned I won. Well, okay; what did you learn? What was the process that got you there. Well, I did this. Lost the next tournament. What did you learn today? I got my butt kicked. Well, how did you get your butt kicked? Well, I went through the process, that's why I did, okay, I learned from that. And it's about building experiences and understanding and picking yourself up, and I'm here to tell you, our foundation, we will help you with that. As these two very young people have alluded to in their lives, they are already had impactful moments in their lives and to know that you are not alone and to know that you have a family behind you is very important.
Q. When is it available for us? Is it available after school hours or weekends? Will there be tutors available for us in the center?
TIGER WOODS: All of the above. It will be after school, weekends, as well as tutors, yes.
DANEEN KEATON: That concludes our assembly for this afternoon.
TIGER WOODS: Wonderful.
DANEEN KEATON: Really want to thank you, Tiger Woods for coming.
End of FastScripts