Rays host career day for Academy Prep Centers students

70 students got a lesson in the science of baseball
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Posted at 2:03 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 18:46:12-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Seventh-grade students at the Academy Preps Centers in Lakeland, St. Petersburg and Tampa got the ultimate lesson in America’s Pastime.

“We learned important stretching, we learned the width of the field, a lot of math and science,” Arness, an Academy Preps student, said.

Staff members from the Tampa Bay Rays baseball operations department taught the kids about the science behind baseball.

“I learned everything,” Aunesti, an Academy Preps student, said. “Nutrition, hydration and how they actually play and the background of baseball.”

“One of my favorite lessons was when we talked about launch angles, and how certain angles were to end up a home run,” Jenna Dufficy, the assistant head of school for Academy Preps Center, said. “Our students learned about algebra, geometry, and other skills they may not have thought about while hitting that Wiffle ball.”

The course culminated with going to a Rays game. But before the first pitch, the Rays staff hosted a career day.

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“I was shocked and surprised to go to a Rays game and see what’s happening behind the scenes and watch the whole game,” Arness added.

The students were asked ‘who wants to be a professional athlete when they grow up?’ Nearly every single one of them raised their hands.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The Rays brought in several people to talk about their careers from baseball operations to diversity to broadcasting and social media, and different avenues to work in sports if you don’t make it to the Big Leagues.

“What has been so meaningful to coming to the career day for the Tampa Bay Rays is to allow them to discover their interests that might align with future careers they hadn't considered before,” Dufficy said.

“I still want to be a softball player, but at the same time I want to communicate and help with the teams,” Aunesti added.