The Arizona Diamondbacks announced the first six graduates of their comprehensive education program for prospects in the Dominican Republic.

The program, which is believed to be the first of its kind, ensures that every player at the team’s academy in Boca Chica receives a high-school education regardless of whether he advances in his baseball career.

The program, which launched in January, requires all players who have not completed their high-school education to participate either in the Dominican Republic or at one of the team’s affiliates in the United States. The players take course work through Cenapec, an online long-distance education system designed to assist individuals in completing their high school education. Players are required to attend school two days per week for four hours each day, with weekly evaluations by the academy’s education staff.

Each student is provided with a laptop computer in a classroom facility built by the D-backs. The team covers the cost of tuition for each player even if he is released and no longer playing in the organization. One such player has already taken advantage of that opportunity while six are graduating this month with their high school diplomas, and all others are expected to advance to the next level.

The program is being administered by D-backs senior vice president of human resources/chief diversity officer Marian Rhodes, Latin operations coordinator Hatuey Mendoza and D.R. academy administrator Marcos Rosa. Classes are available to the academy’s coaching staff, and Mendoza graduated via Cenapec before recently obtaining his college degree from the University of Phoenix.

In addition to the education program, the D-backs also offer players other valuable tools such as English classes, financial literacy and culture.

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