Come September, students across Boston will be rolling out of bed to start the day with some help from a memorable caller: David Ortiz.
“Wake up! It’s David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. Get out of bed and get ready for school. Your future is yours,” Ortiz says in a pre-recorded wake up call being offered to middle and high school students by the Boston Public Schools. Superintendent Tommy Chang announced the service on Monday.
“We are dedicated and committed to do anything we can to provide our students with the necessary supports to keep them on track,” Chang said in a statement.
The initiative aims to fight chronic absenteeism — missing at least 15 school days per year — which affects more than 6 million students across the country, according to data from the US Department of Education.
In teaming up with the Red Sox, the program hopes to provide a jump-start for students’ mornings.
“We hope David’s morning wake-up call helps inspire, motivate, and encourage children throughout Boston to attend school,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said in a statement.
The program builds on an effort at the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, which last year offered such calls to approximately 24 students.
“It is our hope that by offering fun, outside-the-box tools such as this, we will reduce chronic absenteeism in our schools in a way that is enjoyable for our students,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement. “I want to thank Big Papi and the Boston Red Sox for supporting this effort.”
Calls will be available in several languages, although not all will be from Ortiz, said Gabrielle Farrell, a spokeswoman for Chang’s office.
The calls will continue after Ortiz ends what is his final season, Farrell said, noting that Boston Public Schools is seeking other noteworthy callers to be in the lineup.
“We’re looking to hear if there are any other positive role models that would like to reach out to us, if they would like to do a recording,” Farrell said.
“Hopefully we’ll get someone from the Patriots next.”