Last year’s tourney had four student golfers. This year the event had 13 students hitting the links. All of the students had to qualify for the tournament by making good grades as well as keeping these grades high throughout the semester.
This is part of the Teach Loud, Learn Loud program at Moreno, a motivational program started last year by sixth-grade math teacher John Johnson.
When asked about the program, Assistant Principal Hank Looney replied, “The Loudmouth program that has been instituted here at Moreno Middle School has affected the entire sixth and seventh grade, and we are excited about implementing it into the eighth grade next year.
“The students are so excited about their achievements and possible rewards that we see students take ownership in their work and their grades. We have students who have been chosen to play in this year’s tournament that were not chosen last year due to the excitement and motivation that has been provided by the program. The students are looking forward to math again, and this is the biggest achievement and honor the program could receive.”
The tournament this year has several of guests of honor. Coming from San Antonio were golf pro Thomas Kearney and former A.C. Jones star quarterback and now star quarterback at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Eric Soza. Channel 6 morning news anchor Dave Froehlich and Beeville’s own Dr. Joseph Larakers also took their shot at taming the course.
Also playing golf with the students were Beeville City Councilwoman Libby Spires, Moreno school employees John Johnson, Mitch Luna, Craig Billman and Hank Looney. Middle School Principal Joni Barber had the honor of hitting the first tee shot for each round.
Along with participating in the tournament, the top student golfers also received a nice prize package which included Loudmouth Golf shorts, along with other items from Loudmouth Golf and Golf Galaxy. T-shirts, string backpacks and various other items were included. Not only did the top golfers receive prize packages, but the top 10 students from each of the six math classes received prize bags as well.
It was an intense semester around Moreno Middle School with the students all competing to get on the teachers’ top 10 lists.
“This is exactly what the program was intended to do, get the students excited about their grades and doing their best,” Johnson commented.
As an added bonus, the top golfers received golf lessons from golf pro Thomas Kearney.
“The work Mr. Johnson has done with his students is fantastic. In partnering with Loudmouth Golf, he has found a way to make school more fun. The golf tournament is yet another example of this, and long may it continue,” Kearney said.
The tournament itself could not be a success without help. Beeville Country Club head pro Ken Wilson has gone above and beyond to make the event a great success, organizers said. For the last two years, Wilson has allowed the golfers to come and golf at no charge. He has opened up the course and made all the golfers feel welcome.
Loudmouth Golf and Golf Galaxy have been generous in donating items for the kids both years, tourney officials said.
Without Larry Jackson, CEO, and Loudmouth Golf, none of this would be possible, they added.
“Loudmouth Golf is extremely proud of the innovative leadership style shown by John Johnson, and we are proud to be associated with the Moreno Middle School’s ‘Teach Loud Learn Proud’ program,” Jackson said.
“Having the opportunity to support their golf tournament is frosting on top of the pants. After all, it’s known far and wide that Beeville has the best dressed teachers on the planet!”
The winners of this year’s tournament were sixth-grade champion Isabel Olivarez and her partner Thomas Kearney, and seventh-grade champion was Briana Perez and her partner Kearney. A unique aspect of this tournament was the implementation of a math problem on one of the holes.
“Bringing math into the golf tournament seemed like the thing to do in an ‘academic’ golf tournament,” Johnson added.
After the tournament, all the golfers and guests enjoyed a spaghetti dinner at the home of Leo and Roxane Casas.