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Educational Programs

19th Annual Jackie Robinson Art, Essay and Poetry Contest
Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947 marking a milestone in baseball history. As a way of celebrating this momentous event and keeping the memory of Jackie Robinson alive, the Detroit Tigers invite Michigan schools to participate in the 19th Annual Jackie Robinson Art, Essay and Poetry Contest.

The contest is open to middle and high school students throughout Michigan. Students may enter the contest by submitting an original work of art, essay, or poem in honor of Jackie Robinson. The contest criteria are as follows:

ART: Create an artistic expression that captures the spirit of one or more of Jackie Robinson's Nine Values: Works of art may include a painting, drawing, or rendering.

ESSAY: Write an essay about a barrier that you have faced. Explain how you faced this barrier by using one or more of Jackie Robinson's Nine Values. Each essay should be at least 200 words long and not exceed 700 words in length, typewritten, single spaced, and limited to one page. Essays will be evaluated based on creativity, rhythm and flow of language, organization, attitude, personality, character, and the technique used to convey meaning. All essays must be factual and based on the student's real-life experience. Fictional stories will be disqualified.

POETRY: Write a poem that explores one or more of Jackie Robinson's Nine Values. Each poem should be typewritten, double-spaced and limited to one page.

Contest winners will be honored during a special on-field, pre-game ceremony before the Tigers game on Monday, April 20, 2015 as we celebrate Jackie Robinson Day at Comerica Park.

Download the 2015 official entry form »

Download the 19th Annual Jackie Robinson Art, Essay and Poetry Contest flier »

Download the contest details »

2014 Jackie Robinson Art, Essay and Poetry Contest Winners
Middle School Art Amanda Auten Britton Deerfield Schools View entry
High School Art Jawan Davis Denby High School View entry
Middle School Essay Ryan Chatterjee Reuther Middle School View entry
High School Essay Joel Tedone Riverview Community High School View entry
Middle School Poetry Annie Gibbs Reuther Middle School View entry
High School Poetry Olivia Upham Oxford High School View entry

Sharon Robinson honors winners of the Breaking Barriers Essay Contest

Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life is a national literacy and character education program in partnership with Scholastic. The program uses baseball-themed activities to provide students of diverse backgrounds in grades four through nine with strategies to deal with barriers and challenges in their lives, while at the same time conveying the significance of Jackie Robinson's breaking Baseball's color barrier in 1947. A major component of the program is a national essay contest in which students write about overcoming these obstacles using the values demonstrated by Jackie Robinson: commitment, citizenship, courage, determination, excellence, justice, persistence, teamwork, and integrity. This year two national winners are Michigan residents hailing from Canton and West Bloomfield, Michigan. The winners and their teachers were recognized in an on-field pregame ceremony at Comerica Park with Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson.

A G.R.E.A.T day for Detroit Tigers baseball!

The Tigers were the first professional sports team to commit to the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program and have dedicated a game to the program each season since 1992. This year, 40 students were chosen to be featured in an on-field pregame ceremony at Comerica Park. These students displayed the mission and goals of the program and represent 875 middle school students that participate in the G.R.E.A.T. Program throughout the metropolitan Detroit area annually. The students work with law enforcement agencies and educators to learn the importance of becoming responsible members of their communities by setting goals, resisting peer pressure, learning how to resolve conflicts and understanding how gangs negatively impact the quality of their life.

Tigers & Detroit Free Press' Newspapers In Education Promote Reading

Through a grant awarded by the Detroit Tigers Foundation, Detroit Tigers, in partnership with the Detroit Free Press and their Newspapers in Education program, have created an educational supplement to combat illiteracy in Michigan.

2011 marks the eighth year of the partnership between the Tigers and Newspapers in Education. The program makes in-school appearances with Tigers players, Tigers mascot PAWS and Detroit Free Press Newspapers in Education personnel to read to students and discuss the importance of literacy.

Schools may also register to receive unique Tigers literacy materials and posters to encourage students to include reading as part of their everyday activities.

Check below for some of the materials created through this partnership.

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Tigers Max Scherzer, Alex Avila and Ramon Santiago read to students at local schools in greater Detroit as part of the literacy program, "PAWS for Reading" with the Detroit Free Press' Newspapers In Education. (Skillman Foundation)