‘We know how much it means’: Twins honored to receive Evans Scholarships

The letter from the Evans Scholars Foundation arrived at the O’Briens’ Roselle residence, but there was a complication.

The O’Briens’ dog ate the letter.

At least that was the ploy devised by fraternal twins Joey and Matthew O’Brien, who got their sister, Katie, to trick their panicked mother, Cathy O’Brien.

“She was screaming at the top of her lungs, it was so funny,” Joey said.

Mrs. O’Brien knew what was on the line.

When the prank was resolved without harm to letter or dog, the family learned that both boys, who graduated from Conant High School on May 21, had received the Evans Scholarship.

Supported by the Glenview-based Western Golf Association, the Chick Evans Scholarship Program is a full housing and tuition college grant for qualifying high school senior golf caddies. The scholarship is valued at more than $125,000 over four years.

Funded by donations from Evans Scholars alumni, by golfers who are members of the Evans Scholars Par Club and by proceeds from the BMW Championship, more than 12,000 caddies have graduated college through the program since amateur golfer Charles Evans started it in 1930.

This year a record 340 caddies nationwide earned the scholarship, about 130 from Illinois including dozens from the metropolitan area, to students from Libertyville to Huntley high schools.

Recipients are selected based on strong caddie record, character, academics and financial need. The O’Brien twins have caddied at Medinah Country Club since they were in the eighth grade.

They both will attend the University of Illinois and live in the Evans Scholars house there.

What’s more, a few years ago Cathy and Bob O’Brien got the happy news that their oldest son, Sean, had received an Evans Scholarship. He’s set to start his senior year at the University of Kansas.

“When my brother first got it they were over the moon because they knew what the opportunity meant, and when me and Joey got it they had the same reaction,” Matthew O’Brien said.

“They know we’ll both make the most out of it because we know how much it means,” he said.

Applicants from the same family are screened and interviewed individually. It doesn’t appear to be that rare for twins to be selected. Sean O’Brien told his brothers he’s heard of triplets who have earned the scholarship. This year two other sets of Illinois twins received it, in Chicago and South Holland.

Asked what Sean felt about his situation at Kansas, Joey O’Brien said he described it as “a big family” that spends time together.

“Everyone just gets along really easily and it’s easy to make friends,” said Joey O’Brien, who looks to become a physician assistant.

The twins have already visited the house at Illinois, said aspiring engineer Matthew O’Brien.

“It just seems like such an open and welcoming community, and I just can’t wait to be a part of it,” he said.

Special honors

Maine South football player Jack DeFillipis earned $1,000 toward his future studies from the Illinois High School Activities Foundation Scholarship Program.

DeFillipis was one of 14 recipients. They were seniors who either intended to major in education in college, seek to become coaches after high school, or are current licensed, active officials for the Illinois High School Association.

Hinsdale South swimmer Jack Roh earned one of 10 spots on the 2024 LIUNA Difference Maker Team, from the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

It awards selflessness, work ethic and teamwork, and student-athletes are nominated by their coaches.

Roh was one of those types who were first in the pool and last out of it, Hornets coach Beth Walker said when nominating Roh for the award. He helped underclass swimmers and treated them as equals, cheered on teammates in the pool, and even helped clean the deck after meets. Roh was a senior captain.

Flying heavy metal

Unless one is involved with an AAU track and field club, there’s not a ton of off-season training opportunities or competitions for those who like to throw things.

Hammerman USA, 485 Crane Ave., Aurora, was started by former University of Illinois hammer thrower Jim Coxworth. He has an open field near Johnson Elementary School where he runs leagues and meets for people using the various implements.

There’s a meet June 15 with events for discus, shot put, javelin, and hammer. It’s open for male and female throwers 11 to 30, from beginners to experienced throwers.

The registration deadline is June 10, and there is a cost of $10 per event entered. Visit

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