Major League Baseball and Scholastic Expand
2012 Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life Program to 9th Grade

2011 Grand Prize Winner Meggie Zahneis
Named First-Ever Breaking Barriers Envoy and Youth Reporter

Major League Baseball and Scholastic have expanded the multi-curricular character education program Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life to students in the ninth grade. A major component of the program, the Breaking Barriers essay contest, recognizes students for their efforts to overcome personal barriers using values exemplified by baseball great Jackie Robinson.

In addition, Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds and Sharon Robinson, daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, recognized the 2011 Breaking Barriers Essay Contest Grand Prize Winner, Meggie Zahneis at Lakota West High School in West Chester, OH as the first-ever Breaking Barriers Envoy and Youth Reporter, where she will be covering the Reds and items of broader interest in the sport.

Zahneis wrote about her rare Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathy, type 2 disorder in her winning essay. An excerpt is below:

“I know what it’s like to be different from everyone else around you, to overcome obstacles, to confront adversity. It may not be on a baseball field, but I face many of the same social and emotional barriers that Jackie Robinson did…Every day, I try to make a conscious commitment to focus on the things I CAN do, and not the ones I can’t. I like to think I have the determination to forge forward with my strengths and use them to the advantage of not only myself, but of other kids with special needs. It’s my dream that someday, just like Mr. Robinson paved the way for African-Americans to play baseball, I can pave the way, through my writing, for other kids with special needs.”

Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life was developed by Major League Baseball, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and Sharon Robinson. Since its inception in 1997, Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life has reached more than 19 million children and 2.7 million educators in the continental United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The Breaking Barriers essay contest asks students in grades 4-9 to submit an essay about barriers or obstacles they have faced or are still facing in their lives, and how they overcame those obstacles using the values demonstrated by Jackie Robinson: commitment, citizenship, courage, determination, excellence, justice, persistence, teamwork and integrity.


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