RBS Achievers of the Year award winners announced

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group on Wednesday honored two courageous and determined youngsters who have overcome great adversity to achieve success in their personal and academic lives.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The First Tee on Wednesday announced Isabel Shelton, 17, of The First Tee of Greater Austin and Joseph Sobaski, 15, of The First Tee of Southern Nevada as the 2006 RBS Achievers of the Year. The finalists were announced during an awards ceremony at the PGA Championship in Medinah, Ill. RBS will donate a $10,000 scholarship to each recipient to be used toward future education.

"On behalf of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, we would like to congratulate these two worthwhile winners who have made it happen in their own lives," said Howard Moody, group director, communications for The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. "Isabel and Joseph are clearly achievers and it is our hope that these scholarships will help them reach their future goals."

National Trustees RBS and Golf Digest Publications joined forces with The First Tee to present the third annual RBS Achievers of the Year Awards. Special guests included Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., The First Tee executive director, Bob Carney, creative director of Golf Digest Publications, Larry Lane, director of corporate sponsorships for The First Tee, Andy O'Brien, vice president of marketing and communications for Golden Bear International, Joseph Steranka, chief executive officer of the PGA of America, and Allan Watt, head of group brand communications for RBS.

Shelton and Sobaski were among 12 semifinalists from The First Tee facilities worldwide who participated in the ceremony at the PGA Championship. The 10 semifinalists, five girls and five boys, each received a $1,000 scholarship to fund future education courtesy of RBS. Click here to view the complete list of RBS Achievers of the Year.

"Helping people succeed and reach their life goals is central to the mission of The Golf Digest Companies," said Fox. "We're proud to be associated with the RBS Achievers of the Year Awards and proud to provide our corporate resources in support of them. We congratulate Isabel and Joseph for the great strides they've made, along with the rest of the semifinalists."

Isabel Shelton had to endure a great deal of adversity before joining The First Tee of Greater Austin in 2003. After wearing a back brace 22 hours a day, for a year and a half, she underwent surgery for severe scoliosis. During the most difficult time in her life, the doctors told her she could no longer practice ballet, her favorite activity from the age of seven.

It was then that she was introduced to the game of golf as part of her physical therapy. She quickly excelled as a participant and mentor at The First Tee of Greater Austin. In 2004, she received the Life Skills Excellence Award from her Chapter for being an outstanding role model and was named a finalist for the Renee Powell Outstanding Female Leader Award at The First Tee National Life Skills Academy. Isabel embodies the meaning of achievement and is committed to helping others. She has remained a mentor at her Chapter and volunteers at the Children's Hospital of Austin.

Joseph Sobaski has been a participant at The First Tee of Southern Nevada for two and a half years. He is an honor student with a 3.7 GPA at the Canyon Springs Law Preparatory and Leadership Academy. It has taken a great deal of perseverance for Joseph to become the confident young man he is today. Beginning at the age of six, he endured emotional abuse by his mother and witnessed physical abuse of his sister. After several custody battles, his father brought him back to Nevada and entered him in psychosocial counseling to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He credits the support of his father, sister and coaches at The First Tee for helping him succeed in school and life.

"Isabel and Joseph personify both strength and determination. Their individual accomplishments and ability to deal with challenges have made them deserving participants of the RBS Achievers of the Year Awards," said Barrow. "The First Tee is grateful to RBS for their philanthropic efforts and vision to create a program that benefits our participants year after year."

The RBS Achievers of the Year Awards recognize outstanding participants for succeeding in school and their daily lives as a result of their experience with The First Tee. The program goal is to positively impact youth by rewarding selected participants for exemplifying one or more of The First Tee Nine Core Values? by demonstrating leadership, community service, teamwork, overcoming obstacles and improving school grades and attitude. The First Tee Nine Core Values are honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

Since RBS became a Premier Corporate Partner and National Trustee of The First Tee in 2004, RBS has activated several programs to further the mission of The First Tee. The award-winning RBS/The First Tee Mentor Program began in 2005 and pairs participants of The First Tee with RBS employees who are interested in making a difference in a young person's life.

RBS has been a supporter of the game of golf for over 100 years, through its association with The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and The Open Championship. By partnering with The First Tee, they are extending their commitment to the game of golf in the U.S.

About The First Tee:
The First Tee (www.thefirsttee.org) is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Augustine, FL at World Golf Village, home of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has opened over 255 golf-learning facilities in 48 states and five international locations, and has introduced the game of golf and its values to over 675,000 participants. The First Tee National School Program (www.thefirstteensp.org) has reached more than 400,000 students in over 900 elementary schools across the country.

As Founding Corporate Partner of The First Tee, Shell Oil Company has provided financial resources to support the development of this charitable youth initiative aimed at promoting character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Because of Shell's initial contribution, The First Tee has garnered the support of hundreds of corporations and organizations that have provided financial or promotional support to The First Tee and its Chapters.

About RBS Group:
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group ("RBS Group") is one of the world's leading financial services companies providing a range of retail and corporate banking, financial markets, consumer finance, insurance, wealth management and other finance-related activities. RBS Group had a market capitalization of $88.4 billion at July 28th, 2004 and now ranks as the sixth largest bank in the world. For 2003, RBS Group posted total revenue of $31.44 billion and operating profit before tax, goodwill amortisation and integration costs of $11.69 billion. RBS Group serves more than 30 million customers worldwide and employs approximately 125,000 people, including nearly 20,000 in the US. In the US, RBS Group owns Citizens Financial Group and a credit card business. Its New York-based Corporate Banking and Financial Markets North America business is a leading provider of financing solutions to corporate and institutional clients. RBS Greenwich Capital tailors debt capital market solutions to institutions worldwide and has a leading position in US treasuries and asset backed securities.

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