Students Treat All-Star Teacher to World Series Game

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It took less than a day for Rita Brown’s students and their families, past and present, to pool $2,740, well more than the goal of $2,000 they had set.
It was money well-spent.
Brown, a longtime Dodgers fan and teacher at San Marino Community Church Nursery School since 1980, enjoyed an all-expenses-paid trip to Game 2 of this year’s World Series. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, she and her husband were at Dodger Stadium, watching their beloved ball club continue its bid for greatness.
“I still sometimes pinch myself that it really happened,” Brown said this week, still surprised by having received her tickets last Monday. “It was a total, total surprise. I got suspicious when I saw the parents here. Everyone knows I’m a huge Dodgers fan, so I thought they were getting me a shirt.”
She did, in fact, receive a shirt. But in a card, she also received two tickets and extra money for parking and stadium amenities. The game lasted 11 innings, but unfortunately the Houston Astros defeated the Dodgers, 7-6. As of press time this week, the series stood in the Astros’ favor, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday night and Game 7, if necessary, on Wednesday.
“Everyone in the whole school knows how I feel about the Dodgers and my whole class knows how I feel, so I’m getting a lot of empathy,” Brown said.
Brown, a Pasadena native, said her earliest memory of the Dodgers was Sept. 9, 1965, when Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game. Brown said her ears were plastered to the radio as legendary broadcaster Vin Scully called the contest.
Prophetically, Scully, who retired from sportscasting last season after 67 years, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the game Brown attended last week.
“Having him throw out the first pitch at my game was a real thrill,” Brown said. “It actually made me cry.”
Money to pay for Brown’s World Series experience was raised on a GoFundMe page in the span of 10 hours, thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of decades of families whose children she taught at the nursery school. Donors’ names were printed in the card Brown received. She said seeing the names of students she had as far back as the 1980s brought her down memory lane.
“Of course, the highlight of my career is the kids themselves, but the families and the kids themselves doing this is something I will never forget,” she said.
Parent Joy Flores, whose 4-year-old daughter Hailey is in Brown’s class, said it was good fortune she finally had a kid in Brown’s class. Her other children had every other teacher at the nursery school.
“In my swan song, I finally got Mrs. Brown,” Flores said. “The day after the Dodgers won the pennant, they had a party. They’re 4 years old, but they all know that Mrs. Brown’s favorite team is the Dodgers.”
That was clear in a video of Brown opening her gift. Students could barely contain their excitement and couldn’t wait to show off their Dodgers attire.
Flores said she recalled a story about the last time the Dodgers went to the World Series, in 1988, and that Brown sneaked into the Opening Day game the following season with a group of senior citizens from the church who had been invited as special guests.
“She was terrified someone was going to ask her for her age because she was obviously not a senior citizen at the time,” Flores said, laughing.
The GoFundMe page was started by Lindsey Cole Miller. With the power of Facebook shares among Brown’s alumni, donations rolled in quickly.
“She’s a legend for the school,” Flores said. “Because she’s been there for so long, there are people who are friends on Facebook who had her in the ’80s who were donating to the GoFundMe page.”
To read messages from alumni and families and to watch the video of Brown receiving her gift, visit gofundme.com/world-series-for-mrs-brown.

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