Chattanooga Gas funding adds First Tee golf program at 29 Hamilton County Schools
Posted on 07/13/2018
Chattanooga Gas representatives present a big check to Hamilton County Schools

Golf education training in physical education was so successful early this year in ten elementary programs in Hamilton County Schools that Chattanooga Gas has donated additional funding to add equipment at 29 more schools in the district. Representatives of Chattanooga Gas visited DuPont Elementary this week to present a check to Hamilton County Schools to add the equipment from the First Tee Program that teaches basic skills of golf, character lessons, and health education in physical education classes in elementary schools in the district. The First Tee program started in Hixson Elementary, Nolan Elementary, and Thrasher Elementary.

Chattanooga Gas funding purchased equipment for ten schools in January and provided training for physical education teachers in all elementary schools in the district. Two certified golf trainers with the First Tee program led the training sessions designed to teach golf lessons using safe, fun lesson plans provided in the First Tee National School Progam curriculum.

“We are honored to provide additional funding to expand the First Tee program within the Hamilton County Department of Education,” said Wendell Dallas, vice president of operations for Chattanooga Gas. “Chattanooga Gas has a longstanding commitment to be a citizen where we serve and introducing students to the game of golf instills strong character and core values that will last a lifetime.”

Chattanooga Gas donated $35,000 in January for the training of teachers and equipment for ten schools. The company donated an additional $136,500 to purchase equipment to expand the program to the additional 29 schools. The ten elementary schools that received the equipment in January were DuPont, East Brainerd, East Lake, East Ridge, East Side, Ooltewah, Orchard Knob, Red Bank, Wallace A. Smith, and Woodmore.

Chris Darras, a physical education teacher at DuPont Elementary and lead elementary physical education teacher for Hamilton County Schools, was instrumental in securing the First Tee Program for the schools. “First Tee is an interactive, video-rich session designed to provide vivid examples on how golf skills, core values, and healthy habits are safely and effectively integrated into physical education classes,” Darras said.

The 29 elementary schools adding the program to physical education this fall are Allen, Alpine Crest, Apison, Barger, Battle, Bess T. Shepherd, Big Ridge, Calvin Donaldson, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, Chattanooga School for Liberal Arts, Clifton Hills, Daisy, Hardy, Harrison, Hillcrest, Lakeside, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Valley, McConnell, Middle Valley, Normal Park, North Hamilton, Rivermont, Snow Hill, Soddy, Spring Creek, Brown Academy, Westview and Wolftever.

Leading experts in physical education and positive youth development designed the First Tee Program. The golf primer aligns with and meets national standards developed by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE). The program formally trains and certifies physical education teachers to use safe, developmentally appropriate lesson plans and equipment in their classes. The lesson plans include The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits, developed in partnership with the ANNIKA Foundation and Florida Hospital for Children.

The First Tee National School ProgramElementary students trying out the new equipment purchased by Chattanooga Gas launched in 2004 helps students develop an appreciation for the positive personal and social values associated with golf. Students engage in safe, fun lesson activities that lead to motor skill development and while gaining an introduction to a lifelong recreation and health-enhancing activity. Nationwide, more than at 8,000 schools in 1,200 school districts have introduced to The First Tee National School Program.

Photo (top) – Front Row: Ransom Lander, Sophia Smith, and Isabella “Bella” Smith Back Row: Paul Leath, Chattanooga Gas; Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools; Wendell Dallas, Chattanooga Gas; Chris Darras, DuPont Elementary; and Larry Bruie, Chattanooga Gas

Photo (bottom) – Paul Leath, Chattanooga Gas; Ransom Lander; Dr. Bryan Johnson, Hamilton County Schools; Sophia Smith; Wendell Dallas, Chattanooga Gas; Isabella “Bella” Smith