Waunakee senior Trent Jarvi has not had an easy road in the sport of golf, but his hard work paid off after receiving one of two scholarships offered by the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation to students in southcentral Wisconsin.
“It means a lot to earn the scholarship,” Jarvi said. “I’ve grown up my whole life playing golf, so to receive a scholarship related to it is awesome. I’m super thankful for the opportunity and thankful for the Steve Striker Foundation.”
Each year two deserving local high school seniors who meet certain criteria and live in Dane or Rock county are awarded scholarships to help reach their educational goals. Trent Jarvi of Waunakee will receive a $10,000 scholarship ($2,500 per year up to a total of four years).
Scholarship applicants had to be high school seniors and earn at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, and demonstrated participation in the game of golf through competitive participation, recreational participation, employment at a golf course or golf retailer, caddying at a golf course, and/or by volunteering at a golf tournament. They must also have displayed exemplary character, leadership and community service, along with other requirements.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of the 2020 American Family Insurance Championship, American Family Insurance and the Steve Stricker American Family Foundation committed to continuing contributions to charitable organizations in 2020 in the amount of $2.8 million. This also includes funding the scholarship program, which was introduced in 2019.
Katherine Meier of Middleton received the other scholarship.
Warrior golf coach Betsy Zadra pushed Jarvi and other seniors to apply for the scholarship.
“It seemed like an awesome opportunity,” Jarvi said. “I had to fill out an online application and write about what the game of golf has done for me.”
Explaining why golf was so important to him was easy for Jarvi.
“I talked about how it teaches you about life,” Jarvi said. “It teaches patience, respect and perseverance. I also talked about my experience playing the game. I have also done a lot of working with junior golfers, which has been important to me. I can pass along what I know and help them grow. That has been a big thing for me.”
Jarvi started playing golf before high school, but it took him time to get to a varsity level skill set.
“Coming into high school, I played a lot of golf with my friends,” Jarvi said. “Waunakee has always had a good program, so I was excited to be a part of it. I was played on the golf team as a freshman, but I didn’t spend all my time with the golf team. I spent some of my time doing club soccer.”
After his freshman season, Jarvi decided to put more time into golf. It helped him to solid seasons on the Warrior junior varsity squad as a sophomore and junior.
“I kept working on my game and gained more confidence,” Jarvi said.
Jarvi was finally set to compete at the varsity level as a senior this spring, but the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was pretty devastating to lose the season,” Jarvi said. “The seniors have been waiting for this year for a long time, so it was hard. But, we all realize the situation could have been worse. None of us got COVID, so we were grateful to be in the situation we were in. We are all in good health and have a lot going for us.”
Competing in golf may be over for Jarvi, but he plans to continue to play his entire life. He continues to stay involved in the sport with work at the Meadow of Six Mile Creek and Maple Bluff Country Club. He works in the pro shop at the Meadows of Six Mile Creek and on the grounds crew at Maple Bluff.
“I’m not playing golf in college, but I will continue to work on golf courses during the summer,” Jarvi said. “It is a huge part of my life and I will still go out and play. The great thing about golf is that you can play your entire life. You don’t have to give it up after high school ends like other sports.”
Jarvi will be attending UW-Madison in the fall. He will study business.
“I’m really excited because I have wanted to go to Madison my whole life,” Jarvi said. “It is really exciting to finally reach that point in my life where I can say I’m a Badger. I’m excited to see what the university has to offer me.”
A career around golf after his time in Madison is not out of the questions. But, Jarvi is not sure what his future will hold.
“I’m just going to see where life takes me,” Jarvi said. “If there is an opportunity in golf, that would be great. But, I don’t know right now. Doing something related to golf would be pretty cool.”