Zachary Isaacs, a fourth grader at Eaton Elementary School, has at least one goal in life. “I would love to play for Major League Baseball.”
In fact, Zachary, who also loves geography and science, is wearing a shirt featuring his favorite team—the New York Yankees (His parents are from New York). But don’t worry—the Nationals just clinched the National League East and Zachary wants us to know that the Nationals are his number two team.
Perhaps most ironically, his Little League team for which he plays shortstop and pitcher, is named the Red Sox. Zachary doesn’t look so happy about that. But he lights up when he talks about the Dominican Republic. He’s visited the country twice with his baseball camp, the Home Run Baseball Camp.
Home Run Baseball Camp was founded by a DCPS grad, John McCarthy (“Coach Mac”), to foster teamwork and confidence through baseball. Its partnership with the town of Consuelo, in the Dominican Republic, began when he was asked by a Peace Corps volunteer to help run a baseball clinic. The effort eventually turned into an afterschool baseball and literacy program that has benefited over 500 boys and girls. Since 2013, DC campers have flown to the Dominican Republic for a one-week program.
Zachary and his team spend the week in Consuelo playing 10-12 games and learning from their counterparts who love baseball just as much as they do.
“I say ‘hola’ to them, and I count in Spanish, like my batting number!” said Zachary. The experience has fueled his desire to learn more Spanish as he continues school.
The trips have also opened his eyes and given him a chance to live out the values Eaton has instilled in all its students.
“The teams we play are really good, but they don’t have a lot. The families there are kind of poor; I saw this guy flying a kite made of a piece of string and a garbage bag. It made me feel lucky to have a good school to learn at, a home, and a family,” said Zachary.
But it doesn’t stop there. “Eaton Eagles take action, so I donate a lot of stuff… gloves and bats and cleats… and when I went back the next year I saw them using it!” said Zachary.
The Eaton identity means a lot to him in his day-to-day life. “The staff came up with these values and try to teach them to all of our students,” said Assistant Principal Jacqueline Anderson.
“Eaton Eagles… give to other people and care for one another and always have their eyes on the world,” said Zachary. “I think about it a lot, because it’s inspiring.”