Baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. tells Tulsa students ‘You have to be smart’ | education

His father was a baseball player and coach, Cal Ripken Jr. grew up around athletes, and one of them gave him some advice he still remembers.

“In order to get into Major League Baseball, you have to be smart.”

The Hall of Famer visited a STEM lab Thursday at Hawthorne Elementary School in Tulsa, the first of 47 local schools to eventually receive the same type of hands-on high-tech classroom thanks to a partnership between Cal Ripken Sr. , Devon Energy and the Tulsa Schools Foundation.

Ripken admitted that STEMs may not seem like an obvious gift from a baseball legend. But this makes sense given the broader goal of his family foundation Ripken Sr. , which was named in honor of his father, he said.

“It was about developing children and helping them achieve their dreams,” Ripken said.

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Some dream about sports. Others dream of engineering.

“Either way, it all starts with education,” said Ripken, who played 21 seasons for the Baltimore Orioles and became known as the “Iron Man” after competing in a record 2,632 consecutive games. He retired from baseball in 2001.

“Whatever your dreams are, you have to be smart in order to catch them,” Ripken told Hawthorne students.

All new TPS STEM centers will include 3D printers, fast circuits, and programmable Bee-Bots to help teach coding, math, and science.

“The gift they have given you cannot be overstated,” superintendent Deborah Guest told a group of Hawthorne students.

The partnership between Devon Energy and the Ripken Foundation has funded more than 120 STEM centers across several states since 2016. Officials said 47 Tulsa schools will eventually own the Ripken STEM centers.

“They might be in the third or fourth grade right now, but they might be the ones who discovered a cure for cancer,” said Rick Moncrieff, Devon’s president and CEO. “They might be the ones to design a new energy system.”