Sophomores in the American Humanities class recently enjoyed a visit from Barbara Parks, a former member of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). As part of the classroom’s semester-long “Dream Big” Project, students were required to choose a 20th Century topic and devise a unique and creative way to teach that topic to her peers.
Morgan C., ‘21 selected the “Women In Baseball” topic as her focus for her Dream Big Project.
During World War II, many professional baseball league executives wanted to keep the ball parks operational while the men were away at war. In 1943, the AAGPBL became a reality, drawing almost 300 women for preliminary tryouts from across the United States. Made popular by the 1992 cinematic blockbuster, “A League of Their Own,” the AAGPBL league enjoyed 12 years of fan attendance, with nearly one million fans attending in 1948.
In efforts to bring her Dream Big project to life, Morgan C.,’21 invited AAGPBL legend Barbara Parks of Brookline, Massachusetts to The Academy campus to speak to her Humanities class about her time with the league. After a near four-hour trip to campus, Ms. Parks was more than eager to meet our students and share her story.
During the visit, Ms. Parks talked with APH students about how she came to join the AAGPBL as a high-school student herself. At the suggestion of her coaches, a young Ms. Parks boarded a train bound for South Bend, Indiana in 1950, where she played two seasons as a “good fielder, no-hit second baseman” for the Chicago Colleens and Kenosha Comets. Over her career, Ms. Parks hit a .170 batting average over 66 games.
Morgan C., was moved by Ms. Park’s background: “She taught us not to settle. Throughout her life, Ms. Parks has played many sports and said she needed to be good at them. She told us to use this mentality in all aspects of our lives. She also encouraged us to start a business and if it doesn’t work out, then find another experience and start over if you have too.”
Now well into her 80s, Ms. Parks has lived a long life of many experiences, and encouraged our students to do the same, saying “Don’t be afraid to make decisions. You will know if they are right or wrong only if you experience them.”
A “home-run” of a visit, the students in the Humanities class were thrilled to spend some time with Ms. Parks, especially Morgan, who orchestrated the visit, saying, “Our whole class truly enjoyed this kind and very funny woman. I am so grateful I was able to get her to come to school.”
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