Public swings for scholarships at country club

By Roxana Amparo, News Editor

Community members, friends and families gathered at the Mira Vista Country Club for the final Swinging for Scholarships golf tournament on Monday.
For the past 15 years, the Swinging for Scholarships golf tournament has been raising funds in support of Contra Costa College students in the form of scholarships.
The amount of money raised from the community throughout the years is $1.5 million, Eric Zell, tournament committee chairperson and member of the CCC Foundation Board, said.
“The funds collected are for Contra Costa College, for students, for scholarships,” Zell said.
The Sy and Beverly Zell Swinging for Scholarships golf tournament was named after Eric Zell’s parents, Sy and Beverly.
The importance of the event is that the community and the college have been coming together for decades, Zell’s executive assistant Sonia Rivas said.
President of the CCC Foundation Mila Coffey said, “It is great that we can give money — it’s a great feeling.”
Coffey said the donations fund different scholarships for the different departments at CCC, such as the music, nursing and English. 
During the event, 28 teams participated in foursomes, also known as alternate shots, a type of match in golf where golfers compete in teams of two and tee off on alternate holes. There are 18 holes in total. 
Tournament participants rode around the bright green course in golf carts, teeing off throughout the course.
“We are playing a foursome and a scrambler,” sponsor from Plumbers and Pike Filters Mike King said. 
After playing 18 holes, golfers took part in a putting competition. The wind and the condition of the course came into play. 
This year there were two platinum sponsors, Chevron Richmond Refinery and Richmond Sanitary Service/ Public Service, who each donated $10,000 toward scholarships.
There were also various California Gold Sponsors who donated $5,000 toward scholarships. Among the California Gold Sponsors were the City of San Pablo, Kaiser Permanente, Mechanics Bank, Pacific Gas & Electric and others. 
Everyone gathered for a cocktail hour and dinner after the tournament. Zell’s wife Wendy and sisters, Bonnie and Tracy Zell, were there to show support.
The last scholarship recipient, current UC Berkeley student Clarence Ford, gave a speech after the dinner and spoke about his accomplishments and how the scholarship money has benefited him.
Ford came from a troubled background but decided to make a change for the better, he said. He applied himself academically, submitted applications for scholarships and ended up receiving the $8,000 Kennedy King scholarship and the $1,000 ASU scholarship.
“The funds helped me with my housing at UC Berkeley (and toward) books,” he said. “My objective is to do the best that I can.”
Although this was the final Sy and Beverly Zell Swinging for Scholarships golf tournament, it will not be the end of the Zell family’s support and influence in the community,” Zell said. “Caring matters. I am proud to be of this family, of this community.”