Shaw Avenue Students Earn Top Spots in National Essay Contest

National Essay Contest Winners Photo
Two fifth graders from Shaw Avenue Elementary School were recently recognized as national winners for their writing entries in the Jackie Robinson Breaking Barriers Essay Contest. Among the 10,000 essays that were submitted in the contest, Asma Kaukab was selected as the grand prize winner for grades 4-6 and her classmate, Hafsa Asghar was one of eight MVP National winners.

Sponsored by Scholastic and Major League Baseball, the Breaking Barriers Essay Contest allows students of all backgrounds in grades 4-9 to share their personal stories in 200 to 750 words. Students had to incorporate how they use Robinson’s nine values of citizenship, commitment, courage, determination, excellence, integrity, justice, persistence and teamwork, to face their own barriers. With the guidance of their teachers, Karin Savino, Kerry O’Connor and Maria Neckonoff, the students wrote about barriers in their own lives and how these nine values helped them to face and overcome them.   

As a result of their winnings, Asma and Hafsa’s class will receive a set of signed books and t-shirts, and both students and their teachers will receive a laptop. As the grand prize winner, Asma will also travel on an all-expenses-paid trip to Cleveland, Ohio in July with her mother to attend the 2019 MLB All-Star Game where she will be honored for her writing.  

“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being on the field.”  

To celebrate both students, Jackie Robinson’s daughter Sharon Robinson, will visit Shaw Avenue Elementary School on April 18 to award the students in person and speak to classes. 

Congratulations to both students on this tremendous achievement and for sharing their stories!