When the TOUR Championship swung into action at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club this weekend, not only did it represent the culmination of the season for the PGA Tour's top 30 golfers, it also placed a spotlight on a historic graduating class from one of the country's most unique neighborhood revitalization efforts.

Coca-Cola is a proud supporter of the East Lake Foundation, which has helped transform one of the nation's toughest housing projects into a mixed-income community featuring affordable housing, community wellness resources and a “cradle-to-college” education courtesy of the Charles R. Drew Charter School.

East Lake Foundation Drew Charter School

In 2017, the Drew school will graduate its first-ever senior class. These students have benefited immensely from the East Lake Foundation and its initiatives, including The First Tee golf organization.

In 2014, the TOUR Championship made contributions totaling more than $2.2 million to charities and proudly supports the East Lake Foundation and The First Tee of East Lake. The tournament is the number one annual fundraiser for the East Lake Foundation. Over the times that the TOUR Championship has been played in Atlanta, the event has raised more the $20 million. In total, since 1997 the TOUR Championship has generated more than $24 million to charity, both locally and nationwide.

“It means a great deal," says East Lake Foundation President Danny Shoy, Jr. “Twenty-one years ago, one-third of the people in this neighborhood graduated from high school. To have 100 percent graduate and 100 percent accepted in college will be a tremendous day. East Lake is a community where possibility takes place. It takes people and partners to make that happen, and Coke has been a big part of it with their support."

'Twenty-one years ago, one-third of the people in this neighborhood graduated from high school. To have 100 percent graduate and 100 percent accepted in college will be a tremendous day. East Lake is a community where possibility takes place. It takes people and partners to make that happen, and Coke has been a big part of it with their support.'

When the Drew school opened in 2000, its state test scores ranked dead last among Atlanta's 69 elementary schools. Now it sits near the top of the city's best performers via the Georgia's Career and College Ready Performance rankings.

Both in and out of the classroom, students are given the freedom and support to explore their interests. And because of Drew's robust academic offerings, students say they are prepared to face the challenges ahead of them as they pursue higher education.

“The school has given me the opportunity to be a leader," Drew senior Alvin Winston says. “They have helped me find opportunities outside of school, programs where I could meet new people and widen my horizons. All of us seniors know that Drew has done an excellent job of preparing us for whatever we want to do."

East Lake Foundation Drew Charter School

Along with academics, athletics play a huge role in the Foundation's success. First Tee of East Lake is a golf and life skills program for kids ages five through 17 that uses the game's core principles – discipline, hard work and integrity – to build academic achievement and confidence through clinics, after-school classes, year-round Saturday programs and seminars.

“I get the chance to travel the state and play the different courses," says Drew senior and First Tee participant Simone Obleton. “I can also have in-school golf practice since First Tee has a partnership with the school. And this year, I get to be a standard bearer at the tournament. It's a good experience."

'The school has given me the opportunity to be a leader. They have helped me find opportunities outside of school, programs where I could meet new people and widen my horizons. All of us seniors know that Drew has done an excellent job of preparing us for whatever we want to do.'

Obleton will be one of several First Tee golfers who serve as standard-bearers and course reporters during this weekend’s TOUR Championship. One lucky player hits the ceremonial tee shot to kick off the tournament each year. On Thursday, Drew 10th grader Solomon Dobbs had the honor of getting the festivities underway.

The East Lake model has been replicated in several U.S. cities with high levels of poverty under the banner of Atlanta philanthropist Tom Cousins' Purpose Built Communities organization. And now, the Drew Charter model has been studied and adopted by other lower-performing Atlanta area schools.

East Lake Foundation Drew Charter School

“This is not a one-off," Shoy says. “East Lake and Drew have given rise to spinoff organizations that can scale the work. It's a model, but it's not the only model."

There are 84 students who will graduate in May to complete the “cradle-to-college" vision of the Drew School, 16 of whom have been students since first grade and three who started at the school as kindergartners. Reflecting on their time at Drew, all of the students feel like they have been part of something to remember.

“I've been at Drew since the fifth grade. We've been the first to do everything here," Obleton says. “It feels like we are leaving a statement. We are part of a legacy."