Her love of golf started when she was four years old. Now 18, Angelica Harris has won local, regional and national golf tournaments, been featured four times on the Golf Channel for her accomplishments, was a finalist last year in Wendy’s High School Heisman Program and has now been named the female recipient of the 2016 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award by the United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association.
The USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award was created to recognize one male and one female junior golfer who demonstrate leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program.
Such an honor fits well into Angelica’s personal goals to attend Washington University in St. Louis and continue to play golf. She graduated this past June from Louisiana Connections Academy, a free public, completely online charter school.
“At LACA, I was provided with a flexible, yet challenging academic schedule that allowed me to practice golf daily without falling behind in my grade level,” said Angelica. “I received over a million dollars in scholarship offers from top-ranked universities thanks to LACA.”
The online charter school allows athletes like Angelica to work their training and competition schedule into their daily studies. In fact, the school scheduling is flexible enough for an upper-classman like Angelica that the star athlete started a golf program at Chartwell Center, a school for children with autism, and three Standardize Prep Courses across New Orleans where she tutors students on the ACT.
“My golf program is called Angelica’s Angels. I go to Chartwell Center every week teaching the students how to play golf, follow healthy eating habits, and share the life lessons learned through golf,” said Angelica.
Through her fundraising efforts, Harris has raised more than $1,400 for her program. She has also expanded the program to a local childcare center for low-income families and hopes to expand to other special needs schools in the future.
In fact, Angelica has her own custom flip-flop business which she started when she was 10-years-old, that underscores her national leadership qualities.
Harris was honored with the USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award on June 28 in Greensboro, Georgia, during the Rolex Tournament of Champions. For her accomplishment, she will also receive tickets to a future U.S. Open Tournament and entry into the 2016 Rolex Tournament of Champions.
“Angelica exhibits the type of dedication that makes virtual schooling such a good fit for students that need something other than a traditional brick and mortar school to make their dreams and ambitions come true,” said High School Principal Shaunnessy Matthews. “She has a big heart too.”
Louisiana Connections Academy provides a K-12 public education with certified Louisiana teachers completely over a student’s home computer, where they meet with other students online daily for instruction, testing and study.
"LACA allowed Angelica the opportunity to pursue many more activities while getting a quality education,” said Dad Tim Harris. “An online school teaches her discipline, time-management, and independence."
Last year, Gambit Weekly honored Harris for overcoming her own learning disability, dyslexia, and becoming a National Honor Society Scholar and Beta Club member. In addition to working with her program, she also volunteers with organizations such as Kelly Gibson Junior Golf Tour, the Breast Cancer Center, Second Harvest Food Bank, The First Tee of Greater New Orleans, and the Ronald McDonald House Charity.