A new class of 5th graders was inducted into the Red Sox Scholars program on Sunday at Fenway Park, as the initiative's first class prepares for college in the fall.
Since 2003, BIDMC has been the "presenting sponsor" of the Red Sox Scholars program. Each year the program selects - through a competitive essay and interview process - 25 academically talented and economically disadvantaged 5th graders from the Boston Public Schools to participate in the program. Upon graduating from high school, the scholars will receive a $10,000 college scholarship from the Red Sox Foundation. BIDMC staff are matched with scholars and serve as Medical Champions, exposing the scholars to their jobs at the medical center.
Before the Sox and the Phillies took the field, scholars from the Classes of 2004 to 2009 took to the field, lining up around the baseball diamond.
"It was exciting to be chosen last year and I have made new friends through the program," said Sofia de la Cruz, 12, and a Class of 2009 Red Sox Scholar.
Then Class of 2003 who are now high school seniors about to embark on their college careers, received special recognition. Nineteen of the original 25 scholars met the Foundation's criteria for receiving college scholarships upon completion of high school. Each also received a Red Sox jersey with their last name on the back and the number 10, the year they are graduating from high school.
"I have been given a lot of opportunities since becoming a scholar," said Sam Chen, 18, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and a member of the Class of 2003. "This affiliation has really opened many doors for me. This summer I will be doing an internship with the Red Sox and being a scholar helped me get that."
Chen will be attending Boston University in the fall to pursue a degree in social science. Fellow Class of 2003 Scholar Kourtney Lewis-Allen, 18, plans on majoring in political science at Providence College. She and her mother, Leta Allen have attended every Red Sox Scholar event since Lewis-Allen was inducted seven years ago. And Sunday was special for Lewis-Allen for another reason too; she joined BIDMC Board of Directors' Chair Stephen Kay in throwing out the first pitch.
"As a parent, I am so appreciative of the rewards of this program," Allen said. "I am so pleased at what this program has offered Kourtney in terms of leadership. She improved her public speaking ability, made the honor roll every year, and served as a senior class mediator and captain of the tennis team. We come every year to the induction because we want to support them the way they have supported us."
The Scholars Class of 2010 then took to the field accompanied by their Medical Champion and a Red Sox player.
"This is my first time at Fenway Park," said Manuela Medina, 11, and a student at John Winthrop School. "I'm so happy and excited!"
Medina, who would like to go to medical school one day, was paired with Karen Haley, Senior Human Resources Staffing Partner, and David "Big Papi" Ortiz.
"I love the Red Sox and I was looking for a volunteer opportunity," Haley said of her decision to serve as a Medical Champion. "I had colleagues in HR who had done this before and they recommended it."
The Red Sox Scholars Class of 2010 will join their Medical Champions for another Red Sox game this summer. They will then tour BIDMC in the fall, learning about what jobs their Medical Champions hold at the medical center. Past tours have included visits to the NICU and the Skills Lab.