KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball have launched several big community and charity projects this spring and summer to leave a lasting legacy in our metro area from the 2012 All-Star Game. It's a $3,500,000 and several of the initiatives are so-called brick and mortar projects. But of all their philanthropy, the investment the Royals and MLB are making in the lives of the Fox 4 Young Achievers of the week may have the most lasting impact of all.
"Guys, this is where the visitors clubhouse is," says Kansas City Royals spokesman Toby Cook to a small group of wide-eyed teenagers." "And it's really, really nice."
What a thrill, getting a special, up-close-and-personal, behind-the-scenes tour of Kauffman Stadium, a crown jewel of Kansas City that will be in the world spotlight as home of the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. This tour is just one of the perks for Kansas City's first-ever All-Star Scholars.
"They are extraordinary," says Cook of the five young women he is showing around on the special tour. They just graduated as MVPs of different metro area high schools. They hit way above average in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in the musical halls and in school leadership and charity and community service work.
- Danyale Anthony of Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas.
- Rebecca Atchley of William Chrisman High School in Independence, Missouri.
- Kelsey Shriver of Piper High School in Kansas City, Kansas.
- Roda Muhamud of Southwest Early College Campus in Kansas City, Missouri.
- And Claire Mansur of Lincoln College Prep Academy in Kansas City, Missouri.
As part of their wide-ranging community and charity initiatives for the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball are recognizing these five outstanding teenagers as All-Star Scholars and awarding each of them $2,500 a year college scholarships renewable for four years.
"I'm going to go to Missouri State next year in Springfield and study Elementary Education," says Claire Mansur.
"I'm going to UMKC in the fall to study psychology and chemistry to be a neuropsychologist," says Roda Muhamud.
"I'm going to Northwest Missouri State University and I want to major in Interactive Digital Media and hopefully go into advertising or marketing," says Kelsey Schriver.
"I'm going to Truman State University for their Pre-Med program and I'm going to double major in biology and chemistry with hopes of becoming a physician," says Rebecca Atchley.
"I'm going to UMKC to study Psychology and to be a children's psychologist," says Danyale Anthony.
"It's just a thrill for us to kind of put their goals with what's happening in July of 2012 together," says Cook.
The All-Star Scholars have all gotten to the big leagues of school and community achievement as members of and organization called 20/20 Leadership. It's a bi-state organization that engages high school juniors and seniors from several metro area school in all sorts of projects with a goal of making them community leaders for a lifetime.
"It opens their ideas, their thoughts, their worlds to a completely different environment," says 20/20 Leadership Executive Director Marilyn Alstrom about the value of the program.
"And when you have 291 students that participate in a program and it's a 15 month program for the students, these are the stars, these students stepped up," she said.
In addition to their well-rounded accomplishments, the All-Star Scholars also have a strong need for the scholarships. College may have been out of their reach financially without the money from the Royals and MLB.
"The cream rises to the top and it's not always because they had everything going for them," says Cook of the five young women. "And with these kids, we want them to be able to say, 'Man, I got a college education because of the 2012 All-Star Game.' And that might be a bigger deal than any building or field that we could ever improve."
A legacy that will really last.
The All-Star Scholars will serve as spotlighted volunteers at various All-Star Game events through game night. The Royals and Major League Baseball have pledged $250,000 to the All-Star Scholars scholarship program. And each year, they will continue to select five more graduating seniors who are members of 20-20 Leadership to be new Kansas City All-Star Scholars.
Fox 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on Fox 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on Fox 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on Fox 4 News at 5 p.m.
Phil Witt, Fox 4 News