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Steinbrenner Praises Young Ark. Student

February 14, 2006

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ A young New York Yankees fan who saved $1,000 so he could take himself out to a ballgame in the Bronx gave up the money to help keep his local school open. Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner found out about the boy’s charity and invited him to New York.

``Jonathan, I couldn’t be more proud of you,″ Steinbrenner wrote to Jonathan Farrar, a student in the Midland School District of Pleasant Plains. ``I agree with you when you said, `The New York Yankees are important to me, but my school is more important.′ You’re absolutely right and it takes quite a man to give up his personal dream for a higher purpose.″

Arkansas’ state Board of Education had considered merging Midland schools into any of seven surrounding districts, but voted Monday to keep the district alive after townspeople raised $400,000 to cover a projected budget shortfall. Farrar donated $1,000 that he had set aside to pay for a trip to New York for his 13th birthday in May.

Steinbrenner said in the letter he had heard about Farrar’s efforts and invited him to New York for a personal tour of the stadium and of the field during batting practice. He also replaced Jonathan’s $1,000.

Steinbrenner praised Farrar’s donation as a ``sound, mature and virtuous decision.″

``It was indeed the right thing to do,″ Steinbrenner wrote.

Lea Ramsey, Farrar’s mother and an organizer of the Midland fundraising efforts, said her son had approached her about the donation when he heard about the school district’s problems.

``I told him he really needed to think about this and pray about it,″ Ramsey said. ``He told me that he just thought this was the right thing to do.″

Ramsey said her son was as excited about the board’s decision not to consolidate Midland as he was about Steinbrenner’s response.

``This just teaches that when you do good things, good things will come back to you,″ Ramsey said.

Steinbrenner hinted that the reward for Farrar could come in the form of a Yankees jersey down the road.

``Undoubtedly, you will be very successful regardless of the career path you choose,″ Steinbrenner wrote. ``But just in case you choose major league baseball, I’ll be keeping the first base position open for you.″

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