One of the most significant moments in baseball history occurred on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers became the first African-American to play in a Major League game. He was an outstanding athlete and a great man, and his story continues to inspire to this day.
The Pirates help to keep his legacy alive by conducting the Jackie Robinson Art, Poetry and Essay Contest each year -- which carries the theme: "Breaking Barriers In Sports, In Life." The contest is open to elementary and middle school students in grades three through eight in the greater Pittsburgh region and the focus is on what Robinson considered the nine values of success -- namely: courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment and excellence.
Students that participate may choose to submit a piece of original artwork that depicts what Robinson means to them and the way his story has impacted their life, a 100-200 word essay that chronicles the challenges Robinson had to overcome, or a 10-12 line poem that explores one or more of his nine values for success. Last year, there were a total of 2,300 entries and the Pirates expect that number to rise this time around.
Teachers are encouraged to share the contest with their students. Additional information and entry forms are available at pirates.com/community. The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 15. All entries will be divided into appropriate age categories and prizes -- including complimentary Pirates tickets and autographed items -- will be awarded to the winners in each category as well as selected schools based on participation. The winning students will also be recognized on the field at PNC Park prior to the Pirates 7:05 p.m. game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, April 15 -- which will be the 66th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.
Questions about the program may be directed to Chaz Kellem at (412) 325-4731 or firstname.lastname@example.org. An abundance of information about Jackie Robison is available via his official website -- jackierobinson.com.