Matthew Carungay will proudly walk across the stage at La Mirada High School’s graduation ceremony next month. He will be finishing one chapter of his life and entering a new one – as a college student and golfer at Loyola Marymount University.
Carungay has been a loyal member of SCGA Junior since 2010, when he first joined to better his golf game, but quickly showed interest in wanting to help others do the same. It’s because of this astounding dedication to volunteer service, both for SCGA Junior and his community, and his top-notch academics, that Carungay has been selected as a 2017 recipient of an SCGA Junior Scholarship, which will help to cover his tuition costs at LMU as he moves on to this next chapter.
During the application process, Carungay was asked to say what this scholarship would mean to him and his response truly embodies how gracious he is.
“If I were to be selected as an SCGA Junior Scholar, I would be very honored,” said Carungay. “Being selected as an SCGA Junior Scholar is no small feat. Knowing previous Junior Scholars, and to be put in the same company as them, would truly be a privilege, one I would be forever grateful for.”
He gets some of this humble gratitude from his role model – famed UCLA coach John Wooden – who Carungay says has taught him the power of focus to reach success.
“At a young age, my father handed me books written by Coach Wooden, and every year since I continue to read and re-read the books,” said Carungay. “Through his coaching at UCLA and his impact on his players off the court, John Wooden has inspired me to believe that through hard work and patience, anyone can accomplish anything.”
Wise beyond his years, Carungay works diligently to balance a challenging academic schedule and a superb golf game while volunteering his time in junior golf, as well as community organizations such as LA Mission Charities and his church, Beatitudes of Our Lord.
“Every Sunday night I sit down and create an agenda for the week, highlighting certain goals I want to accomplish,” says Carungay. “Learning how to prioritize my activities and plan out my week helps me get my school work done, practice golf, volunteer and spend time with family. Golf has taught me that I must be willing to make sacrifices in order to reach my goals.”
Not something you hear from the average teenager, but Carungay is no average high schooler. He holds an impressive 4.26 GPA, placing him in the top 30 of his graduating class, and plays to a +2 Handicap, ranking 28th on the California Junior Golf Scoreboard and 191st nationally. He has been captain of his golf team at La Mirada HS since 2015 and holds both the lowest 9-hole scoring record, 31, and the 18-hole scoring record, 66, at La Mirada HS, all while spending countless hours volunteering at events, attending SCGA Jr. play days and coaching clinics for children in Norwalk.
But Carungay has not been chosen for this scholarship on merit alone, his understanding of the lessons he has learned through golf and his drive for success exemplify true passion for the game, and life.
“Success is learning from your mistakes and turning a negative situation into a positive one,” said a reflective Carungay. “I have learned to be realistic, proactive and resourceful in my approach to new situations [and] to recognize my weaknesses before they become a problem.”
With this attuned insight into overcoming challenges, Carungay is sure to see success in his pursuits at LMU and beyond.
He plans to major in economics and pursue graduate school to become a Physician Assistant following the completion of his bachelor’s degree. He attributes his interest in medicine to learning early that giving back is the key to happiness.
“By volunteering at the local golf clinics at Norwalk Golf Center, I learned the true impact SCGA Junior has on future generations. Seeing how happy and energetic the kids are at the clinic makes me feel good that I am able to help them,” says Carungay. “I realized that by giving my time, I was also receiving something in return.”
Carungay also hopes to see his golf career blossom in college, “I am going to work very hard in the next four years academically and athletically and see where that takes me.”
Carungay is still actively volunteering with SCGA Junior, and will continue to do so throughout college as an SCGA Junior Scholar.
Most recently, he spent the day volunteering at Mission Hills CC in Rancho Mirage with SCGA President Keenan Barber. Barber holds an annual tournament at the famed Coachella Valley course to raise funds for SCGA Junior programs – raising over $2,400 this year.
“Matt was a superb and courteous representative of SCGA Junior,” said Barber. “With his help we raised a record amount this year, totaling over $14,000 for seven years!”
We look forward to seeing what the next four years brings for this young golfer.