On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. Winners of an essay contest about students’ own experiences breaking barriers can score a trip to a 2013 World Series game or the All-Star game, among other prizes. Grand-prize and first-place winners also will receive a class visit from Sharon Robinson, daughter of the baseball hero.
The contest is part of a character education program developed by Major League Baseball and publishing company Scholastic, Inc. that uses baseball as a metaphor for life. Honoring the legacy of the first African-American major leaguer, the curriculum teaches fourth- through ninth-graders strategies for meeting challenges and barriers.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” is a quote widely attributed to Robinson. Breaking Barriers seeks to improve the lives of young people through a curriculum based on values Robinson demonstrated in his career. Those values are determination, commitment, persistence, integrity, justice, courage, teamwork, citizenship and excellence.
This year marks the program’s 17th year. Approximately 10,000 essays are submitted each year, according to MLB.
Students are invited to submit personal stories about how they use one or more of Robinson’s values to deal with the barriers they encounter. The essay contest deadline is March 14.
One grand-prize winner will be selected from the ninth-grade contestants and another from fourth- through eighth-grade entries. In addition, first- and second-place winners will be chosen from the fourth- through eighth-grade entries. For more information see teacher resources and official contest rules and Breaking Barriers