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Surgoinsville eighth-grader earns trip to World Series with 'breaking barriers' essay

STAFF REPORT • Apr 11, 2019 at 11:13 AM

SURGOINSVILLE — Eliza Smith’s entry in the Major League Baseball Breaking Barriers Essay Contest has not only earned her family a trip to the 2019 World Series, but also a visit later this month from the daughter of an all-time barrier breaker.

Sharon Robinson, the daughter of Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson, will visit Surgoinsville Middle School on April 25 to address the the entire student body in an assembly, then visit Smith in her eighth-grade classroom.

Robinson called Smith’s classroom on April 4 to congratulate her for being the essay contest’s grand prize winner.

April 15 marks the 72nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947.

Honoring this important event, the Breaking Barriers Essay Contest is a chance for diverse students of all backgrounds in grades 4–9 to share their stories about how they use Jackie Robinson’s nine values to face their own barriers.

Eliza wrote an essay in which she discussed her own barrier and how she overcame that barrier using some of Jackie Robinson’s nine values: citizenship, commitment, courage, determination, excellence, integrity, justice, persistence, and teamwork.

Her organized and expressive essay showed incredible honesty in overcoming her barrier and how she “… used teamwork, persistence, and integrity to conquer my own personal barriers and free the confidence within me.”

Robinson is a consultant in Community Affairs and Educational Programming for Major League Baseball.

Following the April 25 assembly, Robinson will go into Eliza’s classroom to present her and her classmates with autographed copies of Robinson’s book, T-shirts, laptops for Eliza and her teacher, and a trip for Eliza and her family to the 2019 MLB World Series.