First Place Award for General Excellence, Catholic Press Association, 2013-2016

Catholic Schools—A Home Run
By JIMMY RUVITUSO Jr.

The following is the winning entry in the “Home Run for Catholic Schools” promotion sponsored by the Hudson Valley Renegades minor league baseball team and the Catholic schools of the Hudson Valley. The essay was written by Jimmy Ruvituso Jr., a third-grader at St. Patrick’s School in Bedford Village. He will throw out the first pitch at the Hudson Valley Renegades game against the Brooklyn Cyclones at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls on Thursday, June 30, at 7 p.m.


I love baseball! My parents put a foam bat into my hands as soon as I was able to walk. Mom and Dad grew up in New York City, and they are huge baseball fans. During childhood, Dad rooted for the Mets, while Mom cheered for the Yankees. Along with their zeal for baseball, my folks shared a background of attending Catholic schools. They went to parochial grammar and high schools. They met and wed at Fordham University. They say that being taught by Jesuits in college was the best education. The priests and brothers at Fordham were at the tops of their fields. They also taught students morals and subjects about faith in Jesus. So it was no surprise that my parents decided to send me to a Catholic school too.

There are many ways that attending Catholic school and playing baseball are alike. Parochial school teaches lots of values that are important to being a team player. Opening day is tough for me, both in baseball and at school, it is hard for me to get used to the three R's: new routines, rules and regulations. However, both my Dad, who is my Little League coach, and my teachers help me to learn what is expected of me. They are alike because they teach me about listening, focusing, taking direction, getting along with others and being a good sport. I may not always be the ace player on the field or the #1 student in my class. Yet my coach and my baseball instructor have encouraged me so much that I now excel at walking my teammates. I have become a much better catcher and hitter because I practice a lot. Likewise, my grade school teachers give me the incentive to try my hardest when I fall into slumps or strike out in class. If I don't understand something in school, my teacher and parents review it with me. Now I have improved much in math and I do very well in science.

Finally, I learn from both baseball and Catholic school that my team may not be the victors of the game, or that my class may not win the spelling bee contest. It is more important to support the other players and my classmates. I should always try my best each time I am up at bat and each day in school. Attending a parochial school has taught me that saying a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit before each game and before class helps my efforts.

My Dad's whole family played baseball in New York. Grandpa was considered by the minor leagues in his youth. He then played in adult local leagues well into his 50s. My uncle played baseball in grade school and for Regis High School. My Dad played and won the Queens CYO baseball championships in 7th and 8th grades. I would love to be a baseball champ like them one day. However, my Mom has a saying that it doesn't matter what I become when I grow up as long as I am a good person. I truly believe that going to a Roman Catholic school will help me to become a better human being. That would be the greatest home run in the Major League of life!

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