For the past several days, Evan Singletary has pulled up videos on his phone to share with his daughter, Aubree. He still can’t believe: There’s rapper 50 Cent, tossing his throw well off home plate; there are basketball stars Shaquille O’Neal and Angel Reese tossing first pitches.

And soon there will be Aubree, doing the same.

The 10-year-old fourth grade student at Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore will take the field at Camden Yards on Thursday. She will receive the ball from new majority owner David Rubenstein and aim her pitch for Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. She will be in the spotlight, a Baltimore kid — not a celebrity or a politician.

“I still catch myself sometimes thinking it’s a dream or something like that,” said Evan Singletary, who teaches social studies at Harlem Park Elementary. “It’s huge. It’s a blessing. It’s definitely a humbling moment to have her throwing out the first pitch. It’s unheard of, really. Only celebrities, or governors or mayors — only those types of people throw out the first pitch. So for her to throw out the first pitch, at 10, in the fourth grade, is definitely a great experience.”

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The significance of the moment is not lost on Singletary or Harlem Park Principal Venus Jackson, although until Aubree watched videos of celebrities throwing the first pitch, she didn’t think much of it.

“When I saw the celebrities throw out the first pitch,” Aubree said, “then I thought it was amazing.”

She particularly gravitates toward Reese, the Baltimore native who stars for LSU. When asked what she’d like to be when she grows up, there is no hesitation from Aubree: “a WNBA player.”

Aubree met Reese once at a basketball camp in Baltimore. The brush with a mentor helps drive Aubree.

Jackson hopes there will be a similar example set when Aubree receives the ball for her first pitch from Rubenstein. There is a connection between this 74-year-old billionaire and 10-year-old Harlem Park student. Both are the children of Postal Service employees, and both are from Baltimore.

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Aubree’s mom, Michelle Wright, is a postal worker. So was Rubenstein’s father.

“One of the things we do is we look for models that our children can aspire to, and I think that story is so awesome, because she too can dream and think of anything it is she wants to achieve and know that if she works really hard it can come to fruition,” Jackson said. “So we want her to be able to step in and just kind of look at the Orioles team as an example of how someone worked really hard, who was also the child of a postal employee.”

Jackson has made a point of telling all within earshot on the after-school announcements of Aubree’s upcoming opportunity.

Aubree began practicing for her first pitch Tuesday. As the day nears, she said there’s a mix of excitement and nerves.

“She’s getting a lot of support, and she’s starting to realize how big this is,” said her dad, who will be on the field with Wright and Aubree for the pitch. He thanked Jackson for thinking of his daughter.

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“She works really hard,” Jackson said. “She participates in our after-school program. She’s part of our girls basketball team; she has great attendance; she is respectful. And her dad is a social studies teacher at our school. So that was an opportunity to reward the family, not just the child.”

And when Aubree takes the ball and tosses it to Ripken in front of a packed stadium, she’s showing that “we have the kids with potential here,” her dad said. She’s representing Baltimore.

“It’s not just Aubree Singletary stepping out there to throw the first pitch,” Jackson said. “She does it for every child that’s ever dreamed that they would have such an opportunity.”

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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