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April 21, 2010 > Students participate in A's "Breaking the Barrier" event

Students participate in A's "Breaking the Barrier" event

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By William Mancebo

Sports, history and the written word all coalesced when approximately 500 Bay Area elementary and middle school students, teachers and parents attended the Athletics-Orioles game on the evening of Thursday, April 15 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. By participating in the "Jackie Robinson Breaking Barriers' Essay Contest," students received two complimentary A's tickets to the Jackie Robinson Day game.

Major League baseball teams across the country paid tribute to Robinson, remembered for breaking the color barrier in 1947, the first African American to play in the majors. Every player, at all professional baseball games that night, wore No. 42 on their game jerseys, to commemorate his historic achievement.

Students came from schools in Castro Valley, Pleasanton, Pittsburg, Richmond, San Pablo, Antioch, Fremont, St. Helena and San Jose.

Locally, six students from teacher Seema Pande's 4th grade class at Mission San Jose Elementary School in Fremont participated at the A's event: Manisha Battu, Sydney Kao, Praveen Nair, Seona Patel, Evie Sun, and Alexander Wing.

Students were happy to do something extra even though it wasn't a required assignment. Their teacher Mrs. Seema Pande encouraged her class to participate as a follow-up to studies during Black History Month.

"The students had to write an essay on a personal barrier they have broken in their life to achieve their goal," Mrs. Pande explained.

Here are a few excerpts from the Mission San Jose Elementary student essays:

"After the end of summer break, I successfully memorized the entire multiplication table. My commitment, persistence, and the teamwork with my family helped me overcome the barrier of memorizing the multiplication table. In summary, commitment helped me because I kept the promise and I did what I told myself to do. I kept my promise and I succeeded!" --Sydney Kao.

"In projects, you need to use the traits determination, persistence, integrity, and excellence. You have to be determined to stick it out, even though you're tired, busy, or just feel like whining. When you stick to your work, it's called persistence." --Evie Sun.

"I knew I did not cheat and I won fair and square. But I thought about the eight great traits we were told to follow in our school and it included integrity. I did not confront him or react to his friends who told me I cheated. They were later disciplined by the principal. She knew I did not cheat. It took courage on my part to be patient. Now when I think back to that week, I feel glad that I did the right thing." --Praveen Nair.

Detra Paige, Athletics Director of Community Relations says, "The A's believe every young person in the Bay Area should be exposed and understand the important role that Jackie played in the history of baseball, as well as the history of American civil rights. His story is as pertinent today as it was when he broke into the major leagues in 1947."

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