MIAMI -- A message the legendary Jackie Robinson preached in his lifetime is being carried on by Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill.
"Jackie Robinson says to value people who impact the lives of other people," Hill said. "Teachers impact so many people. When do you get the opportunity to say thank you to one of your teachers?"
On Tuesday, Hill did just that.
Before the Marlins faced the Nationals at Marlins Park, Major League Baseball paid tribute to Jackie Robinson Day.
As part of the ceremony, Hill recognized one of his high school teachers, Patricia Dunn from Cincinnati Country Day School. She and her husband made the trip to Miami.
Hill, who graduated from the private school 25 years ago, was a football and baseball prep star. He later attended Harvard, where he also played both sports. A running back, his favorite play was "46-power."
Hill is currently the only African-American to preside over baseball operations for a MLB club.
The Marlins decided to link Hill recognizing his favorite teacher on the 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.
"I am glad to have the opportunity to thank a person who has impacted so many lives, not just mine," Hill said. "Teachers impact thousands of young peoples' lives across the world. They don't get the recognition they are due. I'm hopeful that through this program more people will be impacted."
Hill saying thanks to Dunn is part of an organizational launching of the "Marlins Fishing for Teachers" program, an initiative set up for team employees to recognize impactful teachers.
"It's unbelievable," Dunn said of being honored at Marlins Park. "The envy at work is unbelievable. You can't put a value on it."
While Hill ranks Dunn number one, she jokingly said of her former student, "I've been teaching for 35 years, he's [in my] top five."
Country Day still has a number of teachers who were there when Hill was an academic and athletic standout.
"He was just a memorable guy, even though he was at Country Day for two years," she said. "My most recent memory of Mike is when he was voted in the Hall of Fame in 2013. He gave a speech that was unbelievable."
An aim of the "Marlins Fishing for Teacher's" program is to encourage fans to do the same through the "Target Presents PEOPLE All-Star Teacher" campaign, which celebrates remarkable current and retired teachers who make an impact on the lives of their students and communities.
Nominees will have the chance to represent their favorite team and be honored during the pregame ceremony of the 2014 MLB All-Star Game on July 15. Fans can log on to AllStarTeachers.com to nominate their favorite teacher today through May 6.
Dunn, a graduate from Colgate University, received her master's degree in English from Middlebury College. She began her teaching career in 1980 at Canterbury School in Connecticut. In 1985, she moved to Cincinnati Country Day School, where she currently serves as the English Department Chair, a college counselor, and a coach for the varsity girl's lacrosse and golf teams. Dunn taught Hill's English class during his junior year, his first year at Country Day.
"More times than not, you're going off after school to bigger and better things," Hill said. "You may have appreciated your time there, but when do you ever get the time to say thank you?"