Our student athletes show the world what they are capable of
Success is not a universal destination. It is defined by each individual who seeks it. The students who pass through our organization come from many unique backgrounds, but all are on a quest to create their own path to success.
Ismar “Izzy” Ardon's family emigrated to Southern California from Guatemala when he was a child. He grew up in the Malibu, California homes in which his mother was employed as a domestic. At nine years old, Izzy began attending summer camps at Reggie Smith Baseball Centers. While he didn't regard himself an exceptional player, Izzy was dedicated to practice. It was clear to Reggie how much Izzy loved the game of baseball, and Reggie was impressed with how hard Izzy worked to make it in little league. Reggie mentored and trained Izzy through middle school and into high school, where he was a catcher for Malibu High School. After graduation, Izzy worked at Reggie Smith Baseball Centers as a camp counselor, nurturing youth players. Izzy decided to continue his education, earning an Associate of Arts degree from Santa Monica College. He went on to graduate with honors from UCLA, and was in the top 1% of applicants accepted into the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he earned his MBA. Along the way, Izzy never lost his passion for youth baseball. Today, he is Director of Baseball Operations for the Reggie Smith Academy. The motivation to succeed has always been strong in Izzy. All he ever needed was the opportunity to show the world what he was capable of.
It was Roberto Ramos' uncle who first reached out to Reggie Smith on his behalf. Roberto lived in Mexico, and his parents wanted him to have access to opportunities in the United States. Roberto was a talented and motivated student athlete, and his family knew he would flourish if given the chance. Roberto arrived in Southern California at 17 years old. Because he didn’t speak English, his new high school placed him in the Freshman class. Reggie challenged Roberto to strive for greatness as an athlete and as a student. He asked Roberto to learn two new English words each day, and to demonstrate his knowledge of them by writing each in a sentence. On their first day of training, Roberto handed Reggie an entire page of words he had learned. Each day after high school baseball practice and homework, Roberto would train with Reggie, bringing with him a new sheet of words. Roberto progressed rapidly, both as a student and as an athlete. When he subsequently transferred to San Fernando High School, Roberto's hard work allowed him to advance from a Freshman to a Junior, and he made the Dean's List in both his Junior and Senior years. Roberto helped the school's baseball team win the Los Angeles City Championship at Dodger Stadium, and was named the game’s MVP. After graduating from high school, Roberto was accepted to College of the Canyons, continuing to play baseball. After earning his Associate of Arts degree, Roberto was drafted by the Colorado Rockies. Today, he's one of their top minor league prospects, and a shining example of the success that exceptional student athletes can achieve.
Ian Sales' success is a testament to the power of positive thinking. He discovered the game of baseball while attending summer camp at Reggie Smith Baseball Centers. Despite his passion for playing baseball, Ian didn’t start out as a star player. When it came time to pick players for teams, Ian was often among the last to be chosen. He began to feel discouraged, and it took a toll on his confidence. Determined to learn as much as he could about the game he loved, Ian began to spend time at the batting cages. Ian would observe the training that others were receiving, absorbing the lessons Reggie taught. In Ian, Reggie saw a child whose desire to succeed was only hindered by a need for guidance. Reggie began to train and mentor Ian, building both his strength as a player and his self-confidence as a person. He not only improved, he excelled, passing the talented peers who once discouraged him. When Ian attended Calabasas High School, he became a starter on the varsity baseball team. Ian's confidence, skills, and exceptional academics led him to be showcased by Headfirst Honor Roll Camps, where he was invited to play for prestigious Grinnell College. His senior year, Ian was voted all-conference and received the honor of Pitcher of the Year. Ian earned his degree, and today works in finance. Ian’s story demonstrates how having access to support can build a foundation for successes on the field and beyond.