Twenty-five seventh graders from throughout San Diego County were introduced on the field at Petco Park as the 13th class of the Padres Scholars program.
In a pre-game ceremony that featured future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddox, Padres manager Bud Black, and dozens of students from prior Padres Scholars classes, the new Scholars were escorted to the first baseline by players and coaches, and then introduced on the public address system to the Petco Park crowd.
The new class of scholars brings the total number of Padres Scholars to 359, and the financial commitment of the Padres organization to more than $1.9 million. Each scholar receives $5,000 upon high school graduation, provided they maintain their grades and behavior. Half the funds for the program are donated by Padres players, the other half by club management.
"We're very fortunate to have the Padres as a partner for San Diego County public schools and students," said County Superintendent of Schools Randy Ward. "The Padres Scholars program will enable our young people to attend a four-year college or university, and that will open up a world of opportunity for them. The Padres will reward students who maintain outstanding grades and citizenship."
Students selected as Padres Scholars are required to be part of the AVID program, the highly successful college-preparatory program administered by the San Diego County Office of Education.
The Padres Scholars program was devised in 1995, the brainchild of team executives and Padres players Tony Gwynn, Steve Finley and Brad Ausmus. Padres representatives met with local education officials to design the specifics of it, and the program has since become one of the cornerstones of the Padres well-known community relations effort.
The Padres Scholars Class of 2007:
Ricky Acosta, Bear Valley Middle School
Eden Aklile, Farb Middle School
Maricela Altamirano, Rancho Minerva Middle School
Carolina Calvin, Oak Valley Middle School
Juan Ceja, Montgomery Middle School
Materno Hassan, Aviara Oaks Middle School
Deziray Hernandez, Greenfield Middle School
Jessica Jarrett, Lincoln Middle School
Shauna Kim, Potter Junior High School
Nicholas Martinez, Washington Middle School
Cassandra Marusa, Carlton Hills Elementary
Monica Melendez, Calavera Hills Middle School
Hector Peralta, Montgomery Middle School
Berenice Pineda, Keiller Leadership Academy
Isaac Rodriguez, San Ysidro Middle School
Traonte Scales, Farb Middle School
Aldair Serrano, Southwest Middle School
Seraphina Solders, Tierra del Sol Middle School
Felix Teran, San Marcos Middle School
Victor Vargas, De Portola Middle School
Sonia Vasquez, Rancho Minerva Middle School
Edgar Vega, Rincon Middle School
A'zhane' Williams, San Elijo Middle School
Leslie Zepeda, Palm Middle School
Beatrice Zuniga, Jefferson Middle School
For more information, go to: http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/sd/community/padres_scholars.jsp