The late Walter Temple, a one time tennis pro in Sanford, is the namesake of a local scholarship for student athletes.

High school seniors in Lee County planning to attend college this fall – particularly those with an interest in athletics, community and church – have an opportunity to apply for a scholarship which was born out of the memory of a local man who loved local sports.

The Walter Temple Golf Tournament started a decade ago as a group of friends getting together once per year in December and playing golf at the famed Tobacco Road Golf Course in southern Lee County, according to Matt Brown, one of the tournament’s organizers.

But after Temple, a former tennis professional at the Westlake Valley Country Club and longtime Postal Service employee, died in 2012, Brown said the gathering morphed from a group of friends getting together into something bigger. They would raise money to give scholarships in Temple’s name to Lee County students with a love for athletics.

“Walter was just a great guy, he used to come to our games and was a mentor to our family. We thought, ‘well as long as we’re all getting together, we might as well do some good,’” Brown explained. “So we decided to start a memorial scholarship.”

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The scholarship is “available to high school seniors who have participated in varsity athletics in Lee County and demonstrated a commitment to church and community activities,” according to the scholarship submission form.

Applicants are required to provide family information and short essays detailing their participation in sports and sports-related activities, their participation in church and community activities, and the reason they feel they should be selected for the scholarship.

That first year the tournament raised money for scholarships, there were 18 teams of four; as of the most recent event in December, teams were capped at 24, and raised more than $2,500. Brown said the organization has given out $10,000 in scholarship money to 21 local students over the past several years.

“(The awards are) a little different every year,” he said. “Last year we gave out six $300 scholarships.”

Brown also called Tobacco Road “a great partner” in making the scholarship possible.

“They’ve been so good to us and we really appreciate them working with us every year,” he said.

Applications for the scholarship (click here to download the form) are due to the Walter Temple Memorial, 7305 Villanow Drive, Sanford, NC, 27332, by April 29.