New Rochelle native Christiana Hughes’ four years of caddying at Quaker Ridge Golf Club have opened doors in a way that she didn’t think was possible.

Hughes started the job in 2018 to save up for college. She accomplished that goal recently, but in an unexpected way. The New Rochelle High School senior will be attending Penn State University on a full ride thanks to the Westchester Evans Scholarship.

“I wasn’t sure about it at first because I could have just went to John Jay and got the same degree,” Hughes explained about the Westchester Evans Scholarship. “But I kind of wanted the college experience and to be a little away from home and not live at home. I picked the best school. Penn State, it’s right there.”

Westchester Evans scholarships, a prestigious full housing and tuition college grant offered to golf caddies, are awarded to a select group of caddies who have strong caddie records, excellent grades, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character. Hughes was one of five students to receive the prestigious award this year.

Quaker Ridge caddie manager Richie Uva wasn’t surprised Hughes was selected.

“It’s awesome. The Evans scholarship is life changing,” Uva told PIX 11 News. “When I first met her, I was confident she was going to be a success. She’s willing to learn. Just the other day, she was telling me she wants to learn more about reading greens.”

Caddying runs in the Hughes family. Both of Christina’s older brothers, DJ and EJ, are also caddies at Quaker Ridge.

She remembers initially turning down the offer to come out to the golf course.

“I would have never thought of caddying,” Hughes laughed. “Just EJ and DJ telling me if I want to go, I was like not really. Then I’m out here, and it’s not that bad. Just have to get through the heat and the sweat, and I’ll be good.”

Hughes may have been hesitant at first, but she’s all into being a caddie now. It’s great exercise and therapeutic for her.

“My dad was like ‘you’re going again?’ I was like ‘yeah, I’m doing 36 today. Why not?'” Hughes said. “I be outside having fun. I’m fine out here. I like being out here.”