Bay Area teachers to be honored at All-Star game

Two Bay Area teachers elected by fans will be honored during a pre-game ceremony at Tuesday’s Major League Baseball All-Star game, league officials said.

They joined the seven Oakland A’s and three San Francisco Giants making the trip to Minneapolis this week.

Keith Debro of Oakland Technical High School and Tracy Ruiz of Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville were selected by A’s and Giants fans, respectively, as part of the All-Star Teachers campaign.

Thirty teachers, one for each MLB team, will be honored during the ceremony before the American League and National League squads face off at 5 p.m. PDT.

Debro has been a teacher for 25 years and is currently a special education teacher. He developed a mentoring program at two Oakland elementary schools during and after school to prepare students entering Oakland Tech.

Ruiz has been a teacher for 17 years and draws inspiration from life’s challenges and adversity, according to her bio for the All-Star game. She said in a statement that she began following the Giants because of the story of pitcher Dave Dravecky.

Dravecky came back to MLB after being diagnosed with cancer in his pitching arm but broke it mid-game in 1989 and he never returned to baseball. Eventually, his arm had to be amputated, but Dravecky began a new career as a motivational speaker.

Ruiz said:

“My love for the Giants began with Dave Dravecky, as I followed his inspirational journey… There’s no place I’d rather be — school night or summer evening — than surrounded by thousands of fans, all cheering for the best team in baseball.”

A student with heart disease inspired Ruiz to become a camp counselor for children with heart disease to better understand her student’s challenges.

Ruiz also left anonymous gifts for three underprivileged students one holiday season and later started the “Winter Wishes” program to make holiday wishes come true for hundreds of community members.

— Scott Morris, Bay City News