Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

San Diego’s Local Breaking Barriers Essay Contest

Students will need to submit essays in person to Jackie Robinson YMCA at 151 YMCA Way, San Diego, CA 92102 by 5:00 PM on March 11, 2016.

The National Breaking Barriers Essay Contest is sponsored by Scholastic, Major League Baseball, and Church & Dwight Co., Inc.

Each year April 15 marks the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball in 1947. Honoring this important event, the Breaking Barriers Essay Contest is a chance for diverse students across the country to share their personal stories and how they use Jackie Robinson’s nine values to face their own barriers.

This year, in collaboration with the release of the Ken Burns' documentary on Jackie Robinson, KPBS and the Jackie Robinson YMCA are proud to announce a partnership with the Breaking Barriers Essay Contest sponsored by Scholastic and Major League Baseball (MLB).

Students in grades 4-9 will be asked to write an essay about a barrier they have faced in their life by using one or more of Jackie Robinson’s Nine Values: Citizenship, Commitment, Courage, Determination, Excellence, Integrity, Justice, Persistence, and Teamwork. The Jackie Robinson YMCA will host workshops and provide after school program to help students develop their essays. Workshops will include, teaching the Breaking Barriers curriculum and lesson plans provided on the Scholastic website.

Eligible essays will include the following:

  • Must be written in English
  • Must be factual and based on the Entrant's real-life experience. Fictional stories will be disqualified.

Word count requirements:

  • Grades 4–6: 200 to 750 words
  • Grades 7–9: 500 to 1,400 words

In addition to the local contest, the Jackie Robinson YMCA will also submit all entries into the national contest ran by Scholastic and MLB. Please keep in mind these contests are separate and the Jackie Robinson YMCA will no have influence on the national contest.

The Jackie Robinson YMCA will select a grand prize winner and runner-up from each grade level. Grand prize winners will receive $100 and 4 tickets to Jackie Robinson Day at Petco Park to watch the San Diego Padres take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Jackie Robinson YMCA will award runner-ups from each grade level with $50. Local winners will be announced on March 18, 2016 and National winners will be announced April 18, 2016. Local winners will also be asked to join KPBS and the Jackie Robinson YMCA at SDSU's Fowler Athletic Center to be honored at a special event screening of the new Jackie Robinson documentary.

For more information about the local Breaking Barriers Essay contest, please contact: Anna Arancibia at or 619-264-0144 ext 103.

For more information about the Breaking Barriers national essay contest please visit:

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.