Big Papi is giving chronically late Boston students a wake up call — literally

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz wants to help with chronic absenteeism in Boston Public Schools.
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz wants to help with chronic absenteeism in Boston Public Schools. –The Boston Globe

Big Papi has a few words for Boston Public Schools students who have a hard time making it to school on time. That’s why the 10-time All-star and three-time world series champ has teamed up with the school district to record a short, nine-second wake-up call for students who have been chronically absent.

“Wake up,” he says in the recording. “It’s David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. Get out of bed and get ready for school.”

The district is hoping that, when Papi tells kids to get up and get moving, they’ll listen. More than 13 percent of students nationwide missed at least 15 days of school in the 2013-14 school year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education, which puts them at risk of falling behind.

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This isn’t the first time the district has sent out a call to help students wake up. In the past year, approximately 24 students at Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers received morning wake-up calls, but the voice on the other end was one often heard during robocalls, not the sound of a Boston baseball legend.

“I put my phone next to my pillow and the phone wakes me up at about 6 a.m. every morning which helps me to leave home around 7 and arrive at school at about 7:45 a.m., just in time for breakfast,” said Xaquiel Martinez, a ninth grade student at the Academy who used the service last year. “I hope to use it next school year so I can continue to improve my tardiness.”

Information about how families can opt-in to the service will be available in the coming weeks, and the calls will be available in several languages. In the meantime, Papi ends his call with a message for all of us:

“Your future is yours.”

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