7/1/2014 4:13 P.M. ET
D-backs Dominican Education Program graduates first six students
Unique program provides high school education for prospects at Boca Chica academy
By / MLB.com
PHOENIX - The Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) announced the first six graduates of their comprehensive education program for prospects in the Dominican Republic. The program, which is believed to be the first-of-its-kind, ensures that every player at the team's academy in Boca Chica receives a high-school education regardless of whether or not he advances in his baseball career.
"We made a promise to the president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, that we would provide the youth of his country with the best education among all 30 teams and we want to deliver on that," said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. "We know that not every player will reach the big leagues or even make it to the United States as a prospect, but once they sign with the D-backs they are guaranteed to get an education."
The program, which launched in January, requires all players who have not completed their high school education to participate either in the D.R. or at one of the team's affiliates in the United States. The players take course work through Cenapec, an online long-distance education system designed to assist individuals in completing their high school education. Players are required to attend school two days per week for four hours each day, with weekly evaluations by the academy's education staff.
Each student is provided with a laptop computer in a classroom facility built by the D-backs. The team covers the cost of tuition for each player even if he is released and no longer playing in the organization. One such player has already taken advantage of that opportunity while six are graduating this month with their high school diplomas and all others are expected to advance to the next level.
The program is being administered by D-backs Sr. Vice President of Human Resources/Chief Diversity Officer Marian Rhodes, Latin Operations Coordinator Hatuey Mendoza and D.R. Academy Administrator Marcos Rosa. Classes are available to the academy's coaching staff and Mendoza graduated via Cenapec before recently obtaining his college degree from the University of Phoenix.
"Reaching the Major Leagues as a player takes discipline and dedication," said D-backs Vice President of Latin Operations Junior Noboa, a former big league infielder. "We ask our players to have that same tenacity and dedication when it comes to getting their education and we celebrate when they have success on and off the field."
In addition to the education program, the D-backs also offer players other valuable tools such as English classes, financial literacy and culture.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.