May 22, 2021
Today we celebrated the graduation of 16 Scholar Athletes from the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy as they complete eighth grade and begin the exciting transition to high school. The ceremony highlighted each Scholar Athlete; we heard stories of their leadership, perseverance, and growth. Mentors honored their mentees with the gift of a personalized jersey, and our new Player Ambassador, Josh Bell, delivered poignant remarks encouraging our graduates to set goals, envision success, and celebrate their achievements.
The Class of 2021 is the fourth to graduate from the Academy but the first to live through the upheaval and hardship brought on by the pandemic. Since early last year, they adjusted to remote learning and virtual programs without knowing how long we’d be apart. They connected with coaches and mentors over Zoom, followed math and fitness challenges on YouTube, and went months without seeing their friends. When the Academy reopened in the fall, they welcomed a return to play by adapting to new rules, small pods, and outdoor activities in less than ideal weather.
A commitment to serve these Scholar Athletes and their community led to our producing 27 episodes of YBA PLAY TV, providing 184 hours of academic support on our “Homework Hotline”, and the delivery of thousands of meals and produce shares since March 2020. These Scholar Athletes persevered like none before them, and in the fall they will go on to some of D.C.’s highest rated public charter, private, and STEM high schools, many of them with aspirations to continue playing competitive baseball and softball.
Follow along on Instagram and Twitter @Nats4Good as we highlight each graduate throughout the upcoming weeks.