The Chula Vista Park View Little-Leaguers have a big to-do list on their hands: On Feb. 4, they’ll travel to Washington, D.C., to meet President Barack Obama at the White House. Next month, they’ll be inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions. Winning the Little League World Series may have put another thing on their lists: choosing whether to attend a public or private high school.
The boys' newfound celebrity may help the students get into one of the region’s private Catholic high schools, known for both their academic rigor and reputations as athletic powerhouses.
On Saturday, several of the team’s eighth-graders took the high school placement test, a standardized exam required for admission to the region's private high schools, reported the voiceofsandiego.org.
Rod Roberto, Park View Little League’s president and the father of the championship team’s right fielder, Bradley Roberto, said tjat a discussion among parents about sending their children to private schools started soon after the team returned home as champions.
“People were saying we should look at the private schools,” Roberto told the voiceofsandiego.org.
Schools being considered by the team's parents include Mater Dei Catholic High School, in Chula Vista; St. Augustine, in North Park; and Cathedral Catholic, in Carmel Valley.
One family told th online news site that they wouldn’t have considered private schools if the team hadn’t won the World Series.
“We don’t make that kind of money, so probably not,” said Ric Ramirez, a Park View coach and father of Luke, the team’s 6-foot-tall, 200-pound star pitcher.
Ramirez told the voiceofsandiego.org that he had not been directly contacted by any private schools about his son.
Private schools following reruiting guidelines often tread a fine line when interacting with prospective student athletes. The schools are not allowed to exert “undue influence” to attract a student to their athletic programs but can take a child’s range of experiences under consideration when offering admission or financial assistance.
While their children have excelled together, Park View parents have also developed close friendships, Roberto told the voiceofsandiego.org. One of the benefits of attending a private school would be the opportunity to keep the former Little-Leaguers together at the same school.
“We talked about it and thought, ‘What if we can keep the kids together? What if they won the state championship?” Roberto said.
He and other parents have gone to open house events and have been impressed by the facilities and the possibility of attending, he said.
The team was also invited to perform the coin flip at Mater Dei-St. Augustine football game in September, a gesture that did not escape notice from coaches at the public schools the boys may attend if they don’t leave for private ones.
“The private schools in the area have an upper hand with these kids because they can offer them something,” Vincent Gervais, baseball coach and Bonita Vista High School, told the voiceofsandiego.org. “I can show interest by shaking their hands, but I don’t really have anything to offer.”
Admissions directors at Mater Dei High School and St. Augustine High School did not return the voiceofsandiego's phone calls. At Cathedral Catholic High School, an assistant to the admissions director said information about applications for admission was private and would not comment except to say the school does not offer athletic scholarships.