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Grade 9: 2015 Breaking Barriers Essay Contest


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. All students who are legal residents of, and currently reside in, the 50 United States (and the District of Columbia) and Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are currently enrolled in grade 9 are eligible to enter, except that students in the following categories are NOT eligible to participate or enter: students who are immediate family members (i.e., daughter, son, sister, or brother, regardless of where they live) or who reside in the same household (whether related or not) of any persons who, after November 24, 2014, are employees or agents of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. (“MLBP”), Major League Baseball Enterprises, Inc., MLB Advanced Media, L.P., MLB Advanced Media, Inc., MLB Media Holdings, Inc., MLB Media Holdings, L.P., MLB Online Services, Inc., the MLB Network, LLC, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball (“BOC”), the Major League Baseball Clubs, Major League Baseball Players Association, Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (“C&D”), and/or each of their respective shareholders, employees, parents, directors, officers, affiliates, representatives, agents, successors and assigns (collectively, the “MLB Entities”), or Scholastic Inc. (“Sponsor”), its shareholders, employees, parents, directors, officers, affiliates, representatives, agents, successors and assigns (collectively, “Scholastic”) or any of their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, cooperatives, or franchisees or employees or agents of service agencies or independent contractors of any of the above organizations; individuals engaged in the development, production, or distribution of materials for this contest; or individuals involved in the judging process.

Limit one entry per student.  All mail entries must be postmarked by March 13, 2015, and received by March 20, 2015. All online entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on March 13, 2015.

How to Enter: Write an essay about a barrier that you have faced. Explain how you used one or more of Jackie Robinson's nine values—citizenship, commitment, courage, determination, excellence, integrity, justice, persistence, and teamwork—to face this barrier. If you enter offline, please include on your entry your first and last name, name of 9th-grade teacher you designate for the contest, school name, and school city/state.

Completed entries may be submitted in one of two ways: 1) mail completed essays to: Breaking Barriers Essay Contest, Scholastic Inc., P.O. Box 713, New York, NY 10013-0713; or 2) upload completed essays at

  • Online entrants will be asked to provide their email addresses.
  • Scholastic will notify the entrant by email if the entrant is selected as a potential winner and will provide instructions on next steps for collecting the prize.

All personal information collected from online entries will be retained in accordance with Scholastic's records retention policies for the Contest (for all entries: for one year following selection of the winner; for winners, up to three years). Any such personal information collected via online entry will also be subject to Scholastic's Privacy Policy. By submitting an entry in the Contest, you understand and consent to the collection, maintenance, processing and transfer of your information in and to the United States and other countries and territories. You acknowledge and agree that such information may be available to United States authorities or otherwise accessed in accordance with United States federal or applicable state law.

Scholastic and the MLB Entities are not responsible for late, lost, damaged, stolen, incomplete, illegible, postage due, or misdirected entries or mail; for interrupted or unavailable network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), website, or other connections; for lack of availability or accessibility, or miscommunications due to failed computer, satellite, telephone, or cable transmissions or lines; for technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions; for computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures, or difficulties; or for any other computer, network, technical, typographical, human or other error, problem, or malfunction related to or in connection with the Contest.

Each essay must be between 500 and 1,200 words.

Essays will be evaluated for proper grammar and correct spelling, as well as according to the following criteria:

  • How well does the essay express the student's barrier?
  • How well does the essay express how one or more of the values—citizenship, commitment, courage, determination, excellence, integrity, justice, persistence, and teamwork—is used to face and/or overcome the barrier?
  • How well is the essay organized to express what the writer wants to say?
  • How well does the essay incorporate an example of Jackie Robinson?
  • How effective is the essay in expressing the writer's point of view?

All essays must be factual and based on the student's real-life experience. Fictional stories will be disqualified.

All entries must be written in English in order to be eligible.

Selection of Winners: Entries submitted will be judged by Scholastic, C&D and the BOC. All personally identifiable information will be redacted from online entries shared with the BOC for judging purposes. Each prospective winner and his/her parent/guardian (where applicable) will be notified on or about April 6, 2015. Entries, and all rights in winning entries, become the property of BOC and will not be returned. Each prospective winner and his/her parent/guardian (where applicable) agree to be bound by the Official Rules, and the decisions of the judges are final in all matters relating to this Contest. Each prospective winner and his/her parent/legal guardian (where applicable) will be required to sign, notarize, and return, within ten (10) days of date of notification: (1) an affidavit of eligibility/compliance with the rules and statement of originality and verification of address; (2) a publicity release permitting Scholastic, the MLB Entities and each of their respective designees to (i) use the winner’s name, address, likeness, biographical information and/or winner’s essay; (ii) reprint the winner’s submission, in whole or in part, in any future publication(s); and/or (iii) use the winner’s services, including all live and taped performances of winner’s media interviews, photo/video and/or autograph sessions in connection with this Contest in any and all media now known or hereafter developed, worldwide without limitation, including for any advertising, publicity, and promotional purposes, without additional notice or compensation, notification or permission, except where prohibited by law; and (3) a release of liability signed by the parent/legal guardian of the winner (where applicable), and the traveling companion of winner (as applicable); if the above are not executed and received by Scholastic within ten (10) days of date of receipt, prizes may be awarded to an alternate winner from among all remaining eligible entries. In addition, each winner and/or parent/legal guardian of the winner must execute all other documents requested by Scholastic and/or the MLB Entities.

Each entrant and his/her parent/guardian (where applicable) hereby release and hold harmless Scholastic and each of the MLB Entities from any and all claims, demands, losses, promises, causes of action, and liabilities arising out of the preparation for or participation in this Contest, or any use/misuse of any prize (or any portion thereof) awarded hereunder, including any travel or activity related thereto.

Scholastic and the MLB Entities assume no responsibility or liability for the selection of any winner. The acceptance of any prizes constitutes a release of Scholastic and the MLB Entities from such responsibilities and liabilities.

Prizes: Grand Prize: One (1) Grand Prize will be awarded from all eligible entries. Grand Prize student winner will receive a 3-day/2-night trip for 2 (for Grand Prize student winner and his/her parent or legal guardian) to a game of the 2015 World Series, selected by BOC in its sole discretion. The Grand Prize package includes the following: 2 round-trip airfare tickets to an airport near the World Series location (estimated retail value: $800.00) or ground transport based on home location of Grand Prize student winner; 2 game tickets to a 2015 World Series Game (estimated retail value: $800.00); 2 nights of hotel accommodations (estimated retail value: $600.00); ground transport to and from airport, if needed (estimated retail value: $300.00); and ground transport to and from the game (estimated retail value: $300.00). In addition, Grand Prize student winner will receive a laptop computer (minimum estimated retail value: $1,200.00). One (1) Grand Prize 9th-grade teacher (as designated by the student on his/her entry form) and classroom winners (i.e., the teacher and classmates of the Grand Prize-winning student) will receive a class visit from Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson (estimated retail value: $1,500.00); one class set (30 copies) of Promises to Keep books by Sharon Robinson (estimated retail value: $539.70); and one class set (30 T-shirts) of Breaking Barriers T-shirts (estimated retail value: $450.00). In addition, the designated teacher of the Grand Prize–winning student will receive a tablet (minimum estimated retail value: $400.00). Date of class visit from Sharon Robinson will be determined by Scholastic and BOC in coordination with the school and subject to Ms. Robinson’s schedule.

If the potential Grand Prize winner is a student enrolled in home schools, he/she must designate, subject to approval of Scholastic and the BOC, a public or private school or a government or nonprofit child-focused organization in his/her community (the “Designated Entity”) to receive the visit from Ms. Robinson, class set of books, class set of T-shirts, and teacher tablet. If the chosen Designated Entity refuses Ms. Robinson’s visit for any reason, Scholastic and the MLB Entities will determine, in their sole discretion, another Designated Entity in the potential winner’s community.

No cash substitutions for prizes. In the event of prize unavailability, a prize of equal or greater value will be awarded as determined in BOC’s sole discretion. Major League Baseball game, exhibition and/or event dates and times determined in the sole discretion of BOC, and may be subject to change. The Grand Prize does not include tickets to any game, event or exhibition during the 2015 Major League Baseball World Series other than as specifically set forth herein. The terms and conditions of the tickets awarded as prizes will govern in the event a legal game, exhibition or event, as defined by BOC, is not played due to weather, an act of God, an act of terrorism, civil disturbance or any other reason. Grand Prize Winner agrees to comply with all applicable stadium regulations in connection with the Prize. Scholastic and the applicable MLB Entities reserve the right to remove or to deny entry to winner and/or guest who engages in a non-sportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person at the game, exhibition or event. Scholastic and the MLB Entities will not be responsible for acts of God, acts of terrorism, civil disturbances, work stoppage or any other natural disaster that may cause the cancellation of Major League Baseball games, exhibitions or events. Prizes are nontransferable. All federal, state, and local taxes (including any applicable taxes on Canadian residents), if any, are the sole responsibility of the winners. Void where restricted or prohibited.

Winners List: For the names of winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope after November 15, 2014, and before April 6, 2015 to Breaking Barriers Grade 9 Winners List, Scholastic Inc., P.O. Box 713, New York, NY 10013-0713.

Sponsor: Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of BOC, MLBP, and MLB Advanced Media, L.P., as applicable. Contest is not sponsored by any of the MLB Entities.

This promotion and all matters arising in connection with this promotion shall only be construed and evaluated according to United States law.

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