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Red Sox Scholars Class of 2008 Debuts at Fenway Park

Shadiyah Joseph, 10, was concerned when her teacher at the Pauline A. Shaw Elementary School called her aside and handed her a piece of paper.

BOSTON - Shadiyah Joseph, 10, was concerned when her teacher at the Pauline A. Shaw Elementary School called her aside and handed her a piece of paper.

"I thought, 'Am I in trouble?'" Joseph said.

Her line of thinking couldn't have been farther from the truth. Joseph's teacher had pulled her aside to inform her of the Red Sox Scholars Program. The program, launched in 2003 and funded by the Red Sox Foundation, rewards 25 academically talented, but economically disadvantaged Boston Public School fifth graders with $10,000 college scholarships.

BIDMC has been the proud "presenting sponsor" of the program with staff serving as Medical Champions. Later this year, scholars will be given a tour of the medical center. Each student is paired with a BIDMC employee, who encourages the students in their academic and social development as well as introducing them to a variety of careers in the health field.

About 600 students applied to the program this year. On Sunday, June 8, the 25 scholars who were selected after submitting essays and participating in interviews, were honored at Fenway Park, minutes before the Red Sox started the last game in its series with the Seattle Mariners.

"I answered the phone when they called," said 11-year-old Sean Cheatum of Roslindale. "I was sitting on my stairs and I passed the phone to my mom. I began running up and down the stairs. I was bouncing off the walls."

Cheatum attends the Beethoven School in West Roxbury and plays the guitar, violin and piano. He waited patiently in the 95-degree heat outside the dugout as he and his Medical Champion, Michelle Niles, were paired with a Red Sox player for their walk out onto the field as the Red Sox Scholars Class of 2008 was publicly introduced.

"This is unbelievable for the students and for us," said Niles, an administrative coordinator in fiscal administration.

Hieu Tieu, an administrative coordinator in human resources, was impressed with her scholar, Felix Lee, and his plans for the future.

"He wants to be a doctor because he is really interested in the complexity of the human body," Tieu said. "He wants to tackle the 'superbugs' - diseases that cannot be cured by our modern medication." Lee's brother is in his second year of medical school.

The 125 alumni of Classes 2003 through 2007 were also invited to attend the induction of the newest class of Red Sox Scholars. Jorden Rockette, Class of 2003, is about to enter her junior year at Cathedral High School in the South End and plans on becoming a lawyer.

She has attended previous inductions as an alumna and still remembers being introduced with former Red Sox player Damian Jackson. Rockette and her mother, Loris, chatted with new inductee Phinix Knights-Jacks; her mother, Michelle Jacks; and her grandfather, Ulyssess Jacks. The two students realized they were both paired with number 23 of the Red Sox. For Knights-Jacks, Julio Lugo now wears that jersey.