Red Sox: David Ortiz Partners With Boston Public Schools to Fight Chronic Absenteeism


Red Sox slugger David Ortiz continues to give back to Boston by lending his voice to a wake-up call urging students to get to school.

David Ortiz’s baseball career may be winding down, but his efforts to aid the community certainly aren’t.

Ortiz and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) have announced a new partnership to fight chronic absenteeism in schools.

Starting in September of this year, middle and high school students will have the opportunity to receive a morning wake-up call from Big Papi. The pre-recorded message reads: “Wake up! It’s David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. Get out of bed and get ready for school. Your future is yours!”

The goal of the message is to motivate students, who are chronically late or absent, to get to school.

"“We are excited to introduce this new and innovative tool to students in the Boston Public School system,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement. “It is our hope that by offering fun, outside-the-box tools such as this, we will reduce chronic absenteeism in our schools in a way that is enjoyable for our students. I want to thank Big Papi and the Boston Red Sox for supporting this effort – we are fortunate to have a community of partners that are passionate and committed to seeing our students succeed.”"

Earlier this year, the federal government selected the city of Boston as one of ten cities to participate in the My Brother’s Keeper Success Mentors Initiative, “the nation’s first-ever effort to scale an evidence-based mentor model to reach and support the highest risk students.” According to the U.S. Department of Education, chronic absenteeism affects nearly 6 million students across the United States.

"“We are pleased to be working with the Boston Public Schools in this small way to help tackle the important issue of chronic absenteeism,” Red Sox President Sam Kennedy said in a statement. “We hope David’s morning wake-up call helps inspire, motivate, and encourage children throughout Boston to attend school, and serve as a reminder of the importance of education to our Boston-area children.”"

Families will have the ability to opt into the call system, which will be available in several different languages. BPS has had success with wake-up call systems in the past, and is hoping to add more famous voices soon.

"“I am tardy to school almost every day, and EMK recommended a wake-up call, so I decided to try it,” Xaquiel Martinez, a 9th grade student at the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers said in a statement. “Since then I put my phone next to my pillow and the phone wakes me up at about 6:00 a.m. every morning which helps me to leave home around 7:00 a.m. and arrive at school at about 7:45 a.m., just in time for breakfast!!  I hope to use it next school year so I can continue to improve my tardiness.”"

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Now, with the voice of Big Papi, hopefully more students will feel motivated to get out of bed and go to school.