LINDEN — Major League Baseball player and Linden native Aaron Judge donated about 100 noise-canceling headphones to fourth-grade students at Linden Elementary School who are transitioning to Waterloo Middle School.


Judge’s charitable foundation, All Rise, partnered with JBL and the Linden Unified School District. On Wednesday, the headphones were distributed by fourth-grade teachers, staff and administrators from Linden Elementary School via curbside pickup in front of the campus.


Judge went to Linden Elementary, Waterloo Middle School, Linden High School and California State University, Fresno, before he signed in 2013 with the New York Yankees. The 28-year-old slugging outfielder is a two-time American League All-Star. In 2017, Judge was named American League Rookie of the Year after leading the AL in home runs with a rookie record 52, and finished second in the AL Most Valuable player voting. Judge is waiting to begin his fourth full season in the big leagues, which hasn’t started due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Judge’s mother, Patty Judge, president of the All Rise Foundation and a retired teacher who spent much of her career in the Stockton Unified School District, would not answer baseball-related questions but was on hand wearing a Yankees face covering to greet the students and their families as they drove through.


“Our mission is to help students develop strong, positive citizenship and to keep their learning strong, so that they can reach unlimited possibilities,” she said. “In this situation, Aaron really understands this transition from elementary school to middle school because he actually was at both of these schools. He just wanted to reinforce the kids’ learning.”


The over-the-ear headphones are designed to cancel out sound, allowing for better concentration and focus, whether studying or taking batting practice. Judge has partnered with JBL since 2018.


“We should be reading every day at this age, if not sooner, and of course all through our lives,” Patty said. “We should never put down a book or whatever we need to read. The headphones will cancel out the distractions and help them really focus on what they’re reading and focus on the content and increase their learning.”


Said Linden Elementary fourth-grader Erick Pilcher, “Maybe I’ll use them for next year when I go to Waterloo School.”


Contact reporter Bob Highfill at (209) 546-8277 or jhighfill@recordnet.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobhighfill.