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Golf classic aids community’s pre-K promotion endeavors

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Although the turnout and dollars raised weren’t as great as in last year’s inaugural Dave Galle Memorial Golf Classic, organizers are still pleased with the way things turned out on Monday.

Jim Sandgren, a former basketball teammate and fraternity brother of Galle at DePauw, who heads the tournament committee, said this year’s event raised in the $70,000-$80,000 range. That includes a matching grant from the Community Education Coalition.

With the $113,000 raised last year, the two-year numbers approach $200,000 to help fund prekindergarten education for needy families.

Thirty-three teams played in this year’s event, which was Monday at Otter Creek. James Euler, Rich Gold and Tom Harmon of Columbus and Willie Harmon of North Vernon won the morning session with a 13-under-par 59. Brent and T.J. Ehrman of Westfield and Alan and Alex Oyler of Noblesville won the afternoon session with a 15-under 57.

“We were very happy with the turnout,” Sandgren said. “We couldn’t have had a better day, weather-wise, and the golf course was in great shape. We were thrilled with the event and are looking forward to next year’s event.”

Sandgren said it is possible that next year’s tournament could be moved to a different time of year.

“We’ll probably get together as a committee here in the next couple of weeks and talk about that and make some decisions for next year,” Sandgren said. “We may stick with (the current time of year). We had a lot of people out of town, and you had vacations. There has been some discussion with maybe early fall.”

Galle, who died in 2012 from an autoimmune blood disorder, last worked at the Community Education Coalition and was a proponent of pre-K education.

Part of the money raised from the tournament benefits the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.’s Busy Bees program, which helps fund scholarships for 4-year-olds. Part of the money helps kids attend private faith-based preschools.

“These programs in the public schools provide bus transportation, healthy breakfast and lunch, family support and family engagement, as well as before and after school care,” the Community Education Coalition’s Kathy Oren said at Sunday night’s reception. “This is exactly the type of program that’s really important for our neediest families. At the same time, our private faith-based preschools are absolutely critical in serving our children.”

BCSC has three full-day Busy Bees sites and eight half-day locations across public schools. Oren said 428 4-year-olds got to go to pre-K in public schools last year, and 415 4-year-olds attended private or faith-based preschools.

About 900 4-year-olds live in the BCSC school district.

“Between the public and the private faith-based, 843 of those 900 kids get into preschool,” Oren said. “That’s a big, big deal.”

Oren said since the opening of Busy Bees, $216,000 in scholarships has been sent to private or faith-based preschool programs.

“Dave’s work continues to make a tremendous impact on the community,” Oren said. “The Dave Galle Early Childhood Scholarship Fund will provide support for children in need for many, many years to come. There’s a lot of good work and a lot of good things happening here because of what Dave got started, so I believe Dave is with us every day as we continue this work.”

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