Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway is met with high-fives from an excited crowd at Orchard School.

Red Sox Reach Out

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Wednesday December 05, 2012

Orchard Elementary students received a rare treat at an assembly on November 27, when two members of the Boston Red Sox dropped in for a visit. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway and infielder Pedro Ciriaco were visiting the Burlington area as a part of their three-day, six-state Red Sox Holiday Road Trip and 100 Acts of Kindness campaign. While the Red Sox already had a visit to the Burlington Children’s Hospital on their agenda, they wouldn’t have known to drop by the Orchard School had it not been for librarian Donna Sullivan MacDonald’s tweeting. She read that they would be in the area and that fans could request drop-in visits by sending tweets that included the hashtag, #SoxRoadTrip2 to @redsox. So, tweet she did—for three days. On the third, she received confirmation that they’d be coming to Orchard. “It’s an amazing example of the power of social media,” MacDonald said.
The Red Sox currently have two groups on the road who are visiting 100 non-profits by the end of 2013. Lavarnway and Ciriaco visited the Burlington Children’s Hospital in the morning, then headed to Orchard School, and ended the day with a visit to the State House to meet Governor Shumlin.
 At Orchard, they were greeted by Principal Mark Trifilio, a crowd of cheering students, and the sounds of “Sweet Caroline” emanating from the school’s gymnasium. A student from each grade was chosen to ask the players a question. Some wanted to know what inspired them to play baseball, while others were curious about how it feels when thousands of people are watching you and you make a mistake. “You can’t win every day,” Lavarnway said, “but just like in life, if you keep trying hard, you get another chance the next day.”
Lavarnway, who is a graduate of Yale University, stressed to students the importance of education—even if they don’t think they’ll use what they are learning in a certain subject. “School is very important to where you want to be. Because I went to college, I got into the major leagues,” Lavarnway said. 
After the question and answer period, the players walked into their sea of young fans to dole out high fives, and were treated to the students’ singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Corey Burdick, Correspondent