WAUWATOSA -- Since 1930, it has been a way for students to earn their way through college. The Chick Evans Scholarship, through the Western Golf Association has been paying four-year tuition and housing for deserving caddies.
"Opening that letter was just the most nerve-racking, but also rewarding thing it has been in my whole life I think," Amber Heun said.
It was just two days before Christmas when Heun received the best possible present.
"I cried a lot. I'm not even going to lie. It was just such a relief. I am just so thankful," Heun said.
The letter let the Rufus King senior know she won't have to pay for her tuition or housing for four years while she is attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison because she's a Chick Evans Scholarship award winner.
"It honestly means a dream come true. I've been planning on going to Madison most of my life, and this is just something that kind of put me in that final step and has allowed me to put my dreams into place and has allowed me to go to Madison and study what I want to and not have that financial burden on me," Heun said.
"I think it allows her to not have to worry about that expense post college, graduation also. She can concentrate on her engineering studies at UW-Madison and just not have to worry about that," Mary Heun said.
The honor, given to caddies through the Western Golf Association was also big for Heun's parents. Mary Heun watched her daughter's effort each step of the way.
"It is another job. It was a lot of academics, essay writing, interview process. It was a long process," Mary Heun said.
"It was extensive. The interview is kind of nerve-racking. But I think I handled it well. But, at the end of the day, I get to be at Madison living my dream with the other scholars that are wonderful by the way," Amber Heun said.
Interestingly, Amber Heun was very ignorant about all things golf until a couple years ago.
"I didn't even know what it was until a friend of mine just contacted me and said, 'Hey, do you want to do this? Like, I'm a caddie at Blue Mound, would you be interested in it?' I signed up and it was tough at first, learning everything," Amber Heun said.
Soon after her start as a caddie at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club, she learned of the Chick Evans Scholarship, changing her course forever.
"I see that something's tough to me and I try to just overcome that. I really try to just have that goal set in mind, you know, set goals and actually go for them. I mean, this just, it all just kind of fit into place perfectly. I wanted to go to Madison. I started caddying. Found out I could get a scholarship to go to Madison through caddying and that's what I wanted. And that's what I did," Amber Heun said.
But this wasn't the first, or maybe even the toughest challenge that she has faced or overcome as Amber Heun is hearing impaired.
"It's kind of set me back, even at a young age just because it's just been something I've overcome. Like, I don't hear as well as other people. But I have to try harder to do the same things that everybody else just kind of comes naturally to them, especially in academics," Heun said.
Overcoming those struggles has paved her way to Madison.
"I think that I have a pretty profound work ethic. I, just having to overcome these struggles at a young age, has made other things not seem as big or as hard in retrospect," Heun said.
"Gratifying is seeing her dreams come true for herself. That she set a goal very early on, has worked extremely hard to reach that goal and it's become a dream for her. It's become realized for her," Mary Heun said.
"I really want to give back to the foundation by showing them I did deserve this and keep going and performing well in my academics at Madison, doing good things in the community at Madison -- just ultimately being a good person and keep caddying. I just can't wait to get back out on the course this year," Amber Heun said.
Amber Heun will graduate this summer from Rufus King at the age of 17, as she skipped a grade early in her academic career.
She is one of 17 Wisconsin students named Evans scholars this year.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Chick Evans Scholarship.