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Use the old Optimist Leaders 




Optimist Junior Golf recently announced the junior golfers of the 2018 Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team. Those making the team exemplified an impressive balance of academics, golf and community service. After reviewing the qualifications of a record number of impressive applicants, the Optimist Junior Golf Committee selected the following exceptional student athletes for the team:
Jackson Franchville: Coatesville, Indiana
Hailey Freedman: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Christopher McDonald: The Woodlands, Texas
Marlene Tartaro: Warren, New Jersey

Community Service Award Winner
Gerry Jones, Jr.: Suffolk, Virginia
This team exemplified an impressive balance of academics, golf and community service. The All-Scholastic Team is named for Hugh Cranford, who served as executive director of Optimist International from 1967 to 1986.He was instrumental in starting the Optimist Junior Golf program and in 1978 led the efforts to co-sponsor the Optimist Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego, the forerunner to today's Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Cranford passed away in August 2014.
Jackson Franchville is a senior at Cascade High School in Coatesville, Indiana. Franchville carries a cumulative 4.3 grade point average, scored high on his SAT, PSAT and ACT scores and taking several advanced placement courses. He is valedictorian of his class. In 2017, he was honored as part of the Rising Stars of Indiana recognition program based on his academic achievement. Franchville is an avid golf and member of the varsity golf team. In his spare time, he is a landscape worker for members of the community, a carpenter assistant and helps his father flip houses.

Hailey Freedman graduates this year from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is an exceptional student with a cumulative grade point average of 5.3. Freedman has received the Dartmouth Alumni Book Club award, National Merit Commended Scholar, Gibbons Scholar Athlete Award and selected as Junior Marshal for 2017 graduation based on status as class valedictorian at the end of her junior year. She is also a member of the Tri-M Music Honors Society, National Honor Society and of the Green Army (which is a student-led cheering section at the high school sporting events). She is Captain of the women’s golf team, violinist in the advanced strings ensemble and Secretary of the Tri-M Music Honors Society. She is the founder of the Kids helping Kids program at the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Hailey has been recruited to play college golf at Brown University.

Christopher McDonald is a junior at The John Cooper School in The Woodlands, Texas and top of his class taking advance placement classes and maintains a 4.0 grade point average. For the past two years, he was named Rotary Student of the Year and this school year nominated for the Rotary Youth Leadership and student of the year award. He was also named Outstanding Math Student of the Year. He is a leader in Habitat for Humanity serving as service chair for The House That John Built and founded Pars and Birdies FORE Habitat for Humanity in order to raise money for Habitat through The John Cooper golf team. McDonald is a Student Ambassador to new students, helping them acclimate to their new school and integrate socially into the community. He also participates in several mission troops both locally and in Central America specifically Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In golf, Christopher was named All-SPC (top 10 in Conference Championship) both sophomore and junior year.

Marlene Tartaro a senior at Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren, New Jersey. Tartaro scored high on her SAT and PSAT tests and taking several advanced placement courses. She was accepted into the National, Spanish and Chinese Honor Societies. She also received the Principal’s Honor Roll, New Jersey’s State Seal of Bilteracy and Watchung Hills Skyland Conference Scholar – Athlete. Tartaro founded the first ever Varsity Girls’ Golf team at Watchung Hills and is Captain of the team. She also participated on the Boys’ Golf Team her Freshman year. She is the sole volunteer for Els for Autism golf program and organized a joint team fundraiser volunteer opportunity for Autism New Jersey. She also volunteers at the First Tee of Connecticut for the Middle School. Tartaro has been recuited to attend and play golf at Colombia University starting fall 2018.

The Community Service Award goes to:

Gerry Jones, Jr. is currently a junior and homeschooled and lives in Suffolk, Virginia. He carries a 4.5-weighted grade point average. Jones volunteers as a Life Skills Coach for The First Tee of Hampton Roads. For the past three years, he has planned and coordinated a “Golf-A-Thon.” Money raised is split between The First Tee program and the AJGA Ace Grant Program (a program to serve junior golfers who cannot afford to participate in golf tournaments). He has raised $16,936. Jones also plays the violin and piano and performs for the retirement adults at the Bickford Retirement and Memory Care and at the Association of University Women’s annual fundraiser events. He is also a member of the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia. He is an avid golfer, qualified, and played last year at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship. On May 9, 2018, Gerry became the recipient of the 2018 USGA-AJGA President's Leadership Award. Click here for full story