The Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy welcomed its inaugural students on January 14, 2013 in the city that has produced many of the Dominican Republic’s most famous baseball stars.
“The dream has become reality,” said Harold Mendez, one of the co-founders of the DRSEA, whose mission is to provide options and alternatives to just playing baseball by preparing young Dominican boys to position themselves to qualify for baseball scholarships at U.S. colleges and universities. “We want to improve lives through the DRSEA experience, and what those lives can ultimately do to improve their country.”
The DRSEA has 15 young men in its initial class of student athletes. “This day is one we have been looking forward to for a long time,” said Charles S. Farrell, the other co-founder of the DRSEA. “We are starting on a small scale, but it is a scale from which we hope to expand rapidly over the next few years.”
Classes will be taught at The Palms School in San Pedro, and initially offer a concentration in English; baseball instruction is also provided. Allison Hale, director of the school and an Advisory Board member of the DRSEA, said the opportunity offered the first class of students will prove beneficial to them, regardless of success in baseball. “Education is something that will help them the rest of their lives,” she said.
Those educational benefits were underscored by Cesar Geronimo, a former Major League Baseball player with the Cincinnati Reds and a Dominican legend who serves on the Board of Trustees of the DRSEA. “Baseball is a great game,” he said, “and you should pursue it because it can be rewarding. But you should pursue education in the same way, because its rewards will continue to give.”
Baseball players who hail from San Pedro include Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, George Bell, Robinson Canó, Rico Carty, Joaquín Andújar, Mariano Duncan, Pedro Guerrero, and Rafael Ramírez, to name just a few.
To support the DRSEA, go to www.drsea.org, or send donations to DRSEA, 600 Anita Street #16, Chula Vista, CA, 91911. To donate school supplies: Charles S. Farrell/DRSEA, EPS X-25801, 8260 NW 14th Street, Doral, FL 33126.