School district Teachers of the Year will line the basepaths, County Teachers of the Year will throw out the first pitch with State Superintendent Jack O'Connell, and the entire teaching profession will be honored May 15 at the seventh annual Padres Teacher Appreciation Night at Petco Park.
"We're proud to honor our San Diego County teachers," said Padres Vice President of Community Relations Michele Anderson. "Our players and management feel very strongly about education and its importance to our community. Teacher Appreciation Night is a nice way to show our support to the education community."
Thousands of teachers have attended and taken part in Teacher Appreciation Night over the years. And tens of thousands of baseball fans will be in Petco Park to see the Padres face the Cincinnati Reds on May 15.
"I like the fact that 30,000 Padres fans will be introduced to our district and county Teachers of the Year," said Jim Esterbrooks of the County Office of Education. "The teachers always get a great reaction from the fans, and it's pretty nice to be cheered by 30,000 people."
The tradition began when the Padres still played at Qualcomm Stadium. With so many teachers and administrators having ties to the greater community, and the Padres identifying education as one of their top community priorities, Teacher Appreciation Night was a natural.
It's one of many educational initiatives of the Padres. The Padres Scholars program provides scholarships to AVID students throughout the county, and the team will soon be piloting a physical fitness initiative at elementary schools. Padres players regularly appear at area schools, and the team's foundation supports a wide range of youth and education projects.