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01/28/10 11:29 AM EST

Bronx Prep gets visit from Series trophy

Yanks' Fall Classic prize a treat for students, teachers alike

NEW YORK -- All eyes were fixed upon the World Series trophy as it twinkled in the gymnasium lights of the Bronx Preparatory Charter School on Wednesday afternoon, making yet another appearance in what has been a busy offseason agenda.

This time, the prize of the Yankees' hard-fought November battle was a surprise greeting and reward for more than 100 students who had tested their speed and wits in a school-wide Jeopardy!-style math competition.

"Students who are acting like champions in the classroom deserve to celebrate with a championship trophy," said Michael Margolis, the Yankees' manager of media relations.

The gold flags of each American League and National League club gleamed as it was wheeled to the front of the room, accompanied by a white-gloved club employee.

One by one and in groups, the students and teachers clustered around to marvel at the trophy and snap their own camera phone photos, bringing their piece of the prize home.

The audience was decidedly pro-Yankees, as many students spend their summers watching the team play home games at Yankee Stadium. But this time, the Bombers made the trip for a visit to their "home turf" at East 172nd Street and Third Avenue.

"Many of the kids here are from the Bronx and they love the Yankees," said Bronx Prep math teacher Angelina Ventura. "It's a one-time opportunity that they may never have again -- to see it up so close."

Baseball can play a part in the classroom, Ventura said. On some occasions, students are permitted to play a Nintendo Wii baseball game, as long as they keep their own batting averages.

Indeed, on this day, even the rich history of the Yankees franchise could be used as a motivating lesson.

"They've had their ups and they've had their downs, but it never stops them from trying," Bronx Prep math coach Yesenia Michele told the students. "Your hard work pays off in the end."

The middle school students, grades five through eight, were taking part in a "Battle of the Brainiacs," organized to generate excitement and build community around mathematics.

The high-energy competition was inspired by the Math Solutions program, and will be another tool to help Bronx Prep's reputation of launching students to the next stages in education.

For the past three years, 100 percent of Bronx Prep seniors have been admitted to college and 96 percent of alumni are on track to be college graduates, which alone is an achievement worthy of celebrating.

"Everyone was excited," said student Lacey Williams, 11, whose team finished first in the competition. "That trophy is a big thing in the Bronx. That's a really good achievement, and we've had really good achievements here."

It has been an eventful few months for the World Series trophy since the final out landed in Mark Teixeira's glove on November 4.

Since then, the prize has been showcased at many events in the New York area, with some club employees encouraged to borrow the trophy for a day and take it somewhere meaningful to them.

That has sent the trophy for numerous appearances, including at P.S. 35, P.S. 166, the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, Fordham University, the Plaza Hotel, the Ziegfield Theatre, the Marriott Marquis, the New York Hilton and the Waldorf-Astoria.

It also was taken to the Dominican Republic for a visit with President Leonel Fernandez by Yankees senior vice president Felix Lopez in early January, with several Yankees players attending a reception at the National Palace in Santo Domingo.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.