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Educational Programs

21st 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. To celebrate this momentous event and keep the legacy of Jackie Robinson alive, the Tigers host the annual Jackie Robinson Art, Essay and Poetry Contest.

The contest is open to middle and high school students throughout the State of Michigan.

Students may enter the contest by submitting an original work of art, essay, or poem in honor of Jackie Robinson. The specific 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.

"The Nine Values of Jackie Robinson"
Courage, Determination, Teamwork, Persistence, Integrity,
Citizenship, Justice, Commitment, and Excellence

Download the 2017 official entry form »

Download the 21st Annual Jackie Robinson Art, Essay and Poetry Contest flier »

To enter, students must submit their original piece of art, essay, or poetry by 5:00 p.m. Sunday, March 5, 2017. An official entry form must accompany each submission. Items may be mailed or delivered to: Detroit Tigers, Inc., Attn: Sam Abrams, 2100 Woodward, Detroit, MI 48201.

Contest winners will be honored during a special on-field, pre-game ceremony before the Tigers game on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. All participating schools that are able to provide transportation may apply for a donation of tickets to the game. To submit a formal request for tickets for your school, please contact Sam Abrams at 313-471-2363 or via email at by Friday, March 17, 2017.

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Sharon Robinson Honors Winner of 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 one of 10 national winners is a Michigan resident, Debra Moraitis, from West Hills Middle School in Bloomfield Hills. Debra and her classmates had the opportunity to meet Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson, along with Tigers outfielders Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose and MLB Community Affairs Coordinator, Keven Moss.

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 as they were congratulated by Tigers pitcher Blaine Hardy. These students displayed the mission and goals of the program and represent 375 middle school students who have graduated or are currently receiving lessons under the 13-week program this year. 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)
Willie Horton Gives Back To His Alma Mater

The Detroit Tigers created an annual scholarship in 2000 in honor of hometown hero and former Tiger Willie Horton. Each year, a $5,000 schoalrship is awarded by the Detroit Tigers Foundation to a senior from Detroit's Northwestern High School, Horton's alma mater. Receipents of the scholarship are students who have displayed high levels of commitment to academics, leadership, character development and volunteer involvement.

The Detroit Tigers held a pregame ceremony to recognize this year's recipient, LaShay Hamilton.