Sam Bernstein, Riverdale, N.Y. The Ethical Culture Fieldston School GPA: N/A Rank in Class: N/A SAT: 2140
Patrick Kennedy, Orland Park, Ill. Carl Sandburg High School GPA: 4.742/4.0 Rank in Class: Top 10% ACT: 32
Shane Lebow, Santa Barbara, Calif. Santa Barbara High School GPA: 4.66/4.0 Rank in Class: Top 2% ACT: 32
Theodore Lederhausen, Hinsdale, Ill. Hinsdale Central High School GPA: 5.8571/5.0 Rank in Class: 16 of 691 ACT: 33
Jeffrey Lee, Overland Park, Kan. Blue Valley North High School GPA: 4.4762/4.0 Rank in Class: 14 of 368 ACT: 30
Kyle Lewis, Shawnee, Okla. Bethel High School GPA: 4.292/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 96 ACT: 28
Seiji Liu, Beverly Hills, Calif. The Pendleton School GPA: 4.54/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 108 SAT: 2270
David Mills, Evansville, Ind. North High School GPA: 4.0/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 340 ACT: 31
Niall Platt, Santa Barbara, Calif. Laguna Blanca School GPA: 4.45/4.0 Rank in Class: N/A SAT: 2200
Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind. Avon High School GPA: 4.6397/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 582 SAT: 1980
Jes Sanders, Rogers, Ark. Rogers High School GPA: 4.071/4.0 Rank in Class: Top 5% ACT: 32
Paul Sansom, Russellville, Ky. Russellville High School GPA: 4.3043/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 92 ACT: 29
Ashley Armstrong, Flossmoor, Ill. Homewood-Flossmoor High School GPA: 5.840/6.0 Rank in Class: 6 of 752 ACT: 30
Jane Dong, Fremont, Calif. Irvington High School GPA: 3.906/4.0 Rank in Class: 23 of 438 SAT: 2240
Casey Grice, College Station, Texas A Consolidated High School GPA: 4.2861/4.0 Rank in Class: 24 of 659 ACT: 28
Bonnie Hu, Fremont, Calif. Mission San Jose High School GPA: 4.0/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 509 SAT: 2350
Rui Li, Kent, Wash. Kentwood High School GPA: 3.963/4.0 Rank in Class: 11 of 487 SAT: 2170
Marika Liu, Beverly Hills, Calif. The Pendleton School GPA: 4.54/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 108 SAT: 2150
Rachel Morris, Carlsbad, Calif. Carlsbad High School GPA: 4.225/4.0 Rank in Class: N/A SAT: 1820
Kelli Oride, Lihue, Hawaii Kauai High School GPA: 4.0/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 318 ACT: N/A
Sun Gyoung Park, Vail, Ariz. Cienega High School GPA: 4.95/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 397 ACT: 28
Michelle Piyapattra, Corona, Calif. Lutheran High School GPA: 4.6078/4.0 Rank in Class: 1 of 34 SAT: 1640
Stani Schiavone, Bangor, Pa. Bangor Area High School GPA: 103.15/100 Rank in Class: 3 of 275 SAT: 1760
Emily Tubert, Burbank, Calif. John Burroughs High School GPA: 4.1159/4.0 Rank in Class: 32 of 619 SAT: 1850
ESSAY AWARD WINNER:
"Herba" by Sam Bernstein of Riverdale, N.Y.
Still sweaty from the tournament, I nudge open the back door to the beach house and drop my golf shoes next to my grandfather's old set of clubs. I smile, recollecting how eager he had been to show me the woods' revolutionary sleek design and silver heads, now speckled with rust and at least a decade outmoded.
I make my way through the house and peer quietly into my grandfather's bedroom. On a bulletin board, blanketed by family photos, a small Kodak print catches my eye: my first golf lesson. My grandfather, some seventy years old then, huddles over my two-year-old self. The moment springs to life in my memory – his weathered hands helping me swing the tiny yellow club, the first of countless hours my grandfather spent teaching me to play golf.
As always, my grandfather sits in his chair, his head sloped in deep slumber. Although age has worn his face and body, I know his smile will fill the room with warmth when I wake him in a few moments. A lovely middle-aged woman now lives in his home as his caretaker. Unable to function without her, he spends most of his day anchored to that chair, reading, watching the television in the bookcase across from him, taking his meals on a tray on his lap, and gazing at the putting green outside.
Directly across from my grandfather, a long side table holds a statue of a young man finishing his swing in perfect form. A plaque at the base reads: "Sam Berstein-2008 Long Island Junior Golf Champion." I remember my final five-foot putt for victory on the 18th hole, wishing that my grandfather had been there to see it. Herba, as I have called him since I was a little boy, loves the game and he loves me unconditionally.
From my earliest years, Herba helped foster in me a passion for golf that has been a defining force in my life. Tom Friedman wrote in a recent column: "Golf is all about individual characterThis wonderful but cruel game never stops testing or teaching you." Herba was a far better teacher than player. He gave me the best piece of golf advice I have ever received. I call it "Herba's Ten-Second Rule." Bad shots are part of the game. If you get too emotionally high or low, you will never succeed. I give myself ten seconds after each shot to feel good or bad. But after those ten seconds, I move on. I continue to play the game -- shot by shot.
I lower myself into the chair beside him. "Herba, it's me, Sam," I say as I kiss him gently on the cheek, and clasp his hand. He opens his eyes and nods slowly. "It's so good to see you Sammy," he says. "How was the tournament?"
"Do you want the recap shot by shot or hole by hole?" I ask him.
"The usual," he replies. "Shot by shot. Always, shot by shot."