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Esurance, MiLB Announce Rising Stars Winners

Rising Star StudentsMinor League Baseball and Esurance have announced the winners in their 2016 Rising Star Students program. This initiative, which awards $5,000 for college expenses to students in select cities, is the result of the strategic partnership between MiLB and Esurance.   

Winners include notable high school students who are part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS) mentor program and are getting ready for their next level, college.

Each Rising Star Student recipient will be presented with a $5,000 check from Esurance for college expenses during an on-field ceremony at his or her local Minor League Baseball park in the coming weeks. Representatives from Esurance, the local BBBS chapter and the MiLB team will be on hand to make the presentations.

The winners, their respective BBBS agencies and the Minor League Baseball teams that will recognize them are as follows:

Alexandra Azar, BBBS of Central New Mexico (Albuquerque Isotopes)
Alyssa Williams, BBBS of Berks County (Reading Fightin Phils)
Ashley Thompson, BBBS of Greater Birmingham (Birmingham Barons)
Bryce Johnson, BBBS of Middle Tennessee (Nashville Sounds)
Elizabeth Cook, BBBS of the Central Piedmont (Greensboro Grasshoppers)
Hazel Waiters, BBBS of Greater Sacramento (Sacramento River Cats)
James W. Sanders IV, BBBS of El Paso (El Paso Chihuahuas)
Jaylon Vaughn, BBBS of Central Texas (Round Rock Express)
Katie Ertel, BBBS of Lackawanna Susquehanna & Wayne Counties (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders)
Kelly Nguyen, BBBS of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City Dodgers)
Kendall Smith, BBBS of Northwestern Ohio (Toledo Mud Hens)
Kenzee Logue, BBBS of Utah (Salt Lake Bees)
Markel Pugh, BBBS of Kentuckiana (Louisville Bats)
Shelbi Doland, BBBS of Central Iowa (Iowa Cubs)

“The Rising Star Students program is, simply put, three notable organizations coming together to do good and make a difference in the lives of deserving young men and women,” said David Wright, Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer for Minor League Baseball. “The Call-Up Worthy platform extends beyond baseball and this program enables students to pursue and accomplish their individual dreams.”

Nominations for the Rising Star Students program were made in July and August by BBBS agencies. Submissions included unique and inspirational stories, academic accolades, college and career plans and more, focusing on why the individual was a “Rising Star” in his or her community. To be eligible, the nominees had to be classified as “Bigs” or “Littles” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

“Much like our Call-Up worthy players, each Rising Star Student has a unique story to tell with a common theme — outstanding performance in their local communities,” said Cyndie Beckwith, Vice President, Marketing at Esurance. “We’re honored to recognize their hard work, compassion, and leadership and wish them continued success in their college careers.”

“Behind every child who achieves his or her potential, and all of these Rising Stars, there is a team rooting for them. Our Littles’ Big Brothers and Big Sisters are key to helping them succeed,” said Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “Thanks to Esurance and Minor League Baseball, these Little Brothers and Little Sisters have the chance to take their education and future to the next level.”

In June, Esurance and Minor League Baseball announced a strategic multi-year partnership making it the exclusive home and auto insurance partner of Minor League Baseball. To learn more about Esurance’s Call-Up Worthy campaign with Minor League Baseball, visit

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