D-backs to graduate third class at Dominican Republic academy Saturday

The Arizona Diamondbacks will host their third annual high school graduation this Saturday at the team’s academy in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

Among the team executives expected to take part in the event are Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick, President and CEO Derrick Hall, Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Hazen and Special Assistant to the President Randy Johnson, according to a press release.

The program will see five of the team’s prospects graduate from high school, bringing the total number of graduates to 20 during the first three years of the program. Also invited to the ceremony are the country’s Minister of Education Andrés Navarro and Minister of Sports Danilo Díaz, a release states.

The D-backs contingent is expected to meet with Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina Friday, Feb. 24.

The program stemmed from a promise made by Mr. Hall to President Medina in 2013 the team would provide the youth of his country with the best education among all 30 franchises, according to a release.

The D-backs program also will continue to fund its prospects education even if they are no longer playing in the organization.

“This program is an extremely important part of our operations in the Dominican Republic and is a clear differentiator between us and other teams,” Mr. Hall said in a release.

“Providing an education is a commitment and priority of ours and we not only focus on the ballplayers who will eventually wear the uniform at the Major League level, but also those who wear it at every level. We want all of our prospects to know that we care about them as people, not just as players.”

The ceremony will take place Saturday, Feb. 25 morning at 9 a.m. local time and the players will receive their diplomas from D-backs Sr. Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer Marian Rhodes and D-backs Vice President of Latin Operations Junior Noboa.

Mr. Rhodes developed and coordinates the program, which includes the players being required to attend school two days per week for four hours with assigned tutors and with weekly progress evaluations performed by the education committee. Each student is provided with a laptop computer and the team covers the cost of tuition for each player.

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