Achievement House BLOG

For one York family, the new Panic at the Ballpark Halloween attraction is about more than just a weekend night out. Azaria  and Zaire Garcia have been actively involved in the planning and execution of Downtown York’s newest and biggest terror attraction since day one.  How can two teenagers devote so much time to haunting their community? 

It all started with cyber education… and a love of baseball.

As a student with special needs and multiple learning disabilities, before coming to AHCCS, Zaire had had bounced from school to school for several years. Azaria has attended AHCCS since 7th grade because he felt it was the best way to follow the college and career path he wants to follow in the performing arts. Through the flexibility of cyber school gives Azaria is able to take part in community productions with the Weary Arts Group, and work with White Rose Community Television producing an hour long weekly program at just 15.

To say the Garcias are a baseball family is an understatement. The boys live down the street from PeoplesBank Park, and watched it get built over 10 years ago. Since opening day, the family has enjoyed a number of games each season and frequently plays at the playground near the stadium.  After enrolling in Achievement House, Zaire started spending more time on the playground next to the ballpark. During Spring Training last year, Zaire did what any 12 year old baseball fan would do –get autographs, meet players and see as much of the game as he could.

Zaire built relationships with the players, coaches and front office staff. A few times he was invited into the locker room, or to check out a game. Zaire expressed his interest in managing a clubhouse one day, and the Revolution decided to take him under their wing. This past summer he spent his days helping the team as the youngest unpaid intern in the ballpark, learning everything from how the grounds crew works to setting up uniforms and equipment for the players. Zaire, at only 12, is mentored by Milton Myles, clubhouse manager for the York Revolution.

“The beauty of being an independently owned team is that we can partner with community groups (such as the Weary Arts Group) but also give back in other ways,” said Eric Menzer, President of the York Revolution. “Zaire is a bright young boy who was in the right place at the right time, and really has become a key part of our clubhouse assisting Milton every game,” 

Panic at the Ballpark officially opened on October 7, and will run weekends through Halloween. Azaria landed a role as one of the second lead scarer who will be placed in a prominent spot in the ballpark.  Zaire will help the production team with special effects such as strobe lights and fog, and has worked with to help build the sets that are transforming the stadium into a site that is sure to scare!

 “When you have a child with a learning disability there is a stigma that they will never achieve their full potential, might not graduate, or will only ever have a low paying job,” said Shannon when asked about why she chose cyber education. “My boys don’t feel that way at Achievement House. I know they are getting the education they require, but the model allows them to engage in our community in a positive way and learn what they are truly passionate about.”

In the Central PA area? Be sure to check out Panic at the Ballpark this fall and high five these two amazing AHCCS students!