The Baltimore Orioles Adopt a Local School

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Kids enjoying Baltimore Orioles games
Photo: Todd Olszewski/Baltimore Orioles

Baseball players on the Baltimore Orioles have served as role models to young Baltimoreans for generations. Now, they’re giving back to Baltimore’s children through their Adopt-A-School campaign, which will support Harlem Park Elementary Middle School in West Baltimore.

As part of this new partnership, the Orioles will be helping to provide the school with resources, partnership on community outreach programs and opportunities for students to meet and learn from famous baseball players on the team. 

“This is one of the most exciting and proudest moments of my professional career,” says Kerry R. Watson Jr., the Orioles’ vice president of public affairs, at a news conference held at Harlem Park Friday morning about this new partnership. “This next chapter for the Baltimore Orioles is about commitment and purpose. We will be strategic and focused on outcomes, and we will be intentional about our work in the community.” 

Read More: The Magic of Camden Yards

This is the first time that the Baltimore Orioles are engaging in an Adopt-A-School program. Previously, fellow Major League Baseball team Los Angeles Angels engaged in an annual campaign to adopt and support elementary schools in the Los Angeles area. 

Two students from Harlem Park Elementary Middle School (often referred to as “The Park”) also spoke at the Baltimore news conference on Friday, April 12.

Aubree Singletary, a fourth-grade basketball player who previously threw the first pitch at a March 28 Orioles game, was featured in a video about the Adopt-A-School program that premiered at the beginning of the event.

The other student representative was eighth-grader, Cortez Gillies, who will soon be graduating from the K-8 Harlem Park Elementary Middle School.

“I don’t just speak for myself when I say that we, the students, staff, parents and community at large, are super excited about our partnership,” Singletary says. “[The Orioles] already piqued our curiosity about baseball and the endless possibilities of how our work could pay off.”

The Orioles are planning to host 200 Harlem Park students for the Kids’ Opening Day game April 14. Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott increased that number to 216 by granting Singletary and Gillies the use of his personal skybox at Camden Yards. 

“There are a lot of things being said about young people from Baltimore City,” Scott says. “We have folks painting young people like Aubree, like Cortez, the scholars you see before us, as the boogeyman. But this is the true representation of how our young people, no matter the circumstances they are born into, do amazing things each and every day.” 

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore also spoke at the event via a pre-recorded video message. Other speakers included Harlem Park Principal Venus Jackson and Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises. 

“This strategic partnership will help Harlem Park not only reach state standards, but exceed them,” Moore says. “Because we’re going to work together to provide systems to teachers and staff administrators to build a closer connection with students and their families. I’m so inspired by this initiative. And as we have to recover from the collapse of the [Key Bridge], projects like these are exactly what we need to see in order to not just keep Baltimore going but build us stronger than ever.”

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