Okeechobee’s Jetta Osceola named MLB national essay winner

Major League Baseball and Scholastic have announced the winners of the 2019 Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life essay contest and a local Okeechobee girl was among those recognized.

Jetta Osceola, fifth grader at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School (PECS), was announced as one of the eight MVP Prize winners. Jetta’s essay was about her struggle overcoming her father’s death in 2016. In the essay she explained she how even though she felt like giving up at times, she was able to push herself and persist in the wake of a devastating personal tragedy.

Jetta’s mother, Brittany Osceola, is proud of what her daughter achieved.

“Losing her dad was very tragic to her,” said Mrs. Osceola. “She’s the oldest of my children. When I read her essay I could see she spoke from the heart.”

The essay contest is the culminating component of the Breaking Barriers educational program, which is led by Major League Baseball, Scholastic, and Sharon Robinson – founder of the Breaking Barriers program and daughter of Hall of Famer and Baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson.

The Breaking Barriers essay contest encourages students from across the country to write about overcoming personal obstacles, or barriers, through the example of values set forth by Jackie Robinson as he broke Baseball’s color barrier. The program focuses on nine values: Courage, Teamwork, Determination, Persistence, Integrity, Citizenship, Justice, Commitment and Excellence.

Each of the prize winners and their respective teachers will receive a new laptop computer, courtesy of Microsoft, as well as additional prizes for their classes, including Breaking Barriers t-shirts and books written by Sharon Robinson.

“Each year, we are genuinely impressed by the level of courage and self-awareness demonstrated in these essays,” said Sharon Robinson. “Not only have these writers navigated extremely powerful barriers in their young lives, but despite it all, they have remained positive and exhibited an enormous amount of personal growth. We are beyond excited to welcome this year’s winners to the Breaking Barriers family!”

Sharon Robinson is the author of several widely praised nonfiction books and novels for children. Her forthcoming novel Child of the Dream, is a memoir about turning 13 years old in 1963—with an inside look at the Robinson family and Sharon’s attempts to discover her place in the fight for equality and justice—and will be published by Scholastic in September 2019.

Along with Jetta the other prize winners announced were Zoe Wolfe, Grade 5, North Canton, Ohio, Hafsa Asghar, Grade 5, Valley Steam, N.Y., Karen Solis, Grade 6, El Monte, Calif., Sam Ray, Grade 8, Willcox, Ariz., Gabrielle Antonia Porter, Grade 8, West Bloomfield, Mich., Colin Jennings, Grade 7, Kalona, Iowa and Rebekah Lane, Grade 8, Hartville, Ohio.

Since its inception in 1997, Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life has reached more than 37 million children and 5 million educators in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information on Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life, please visit MLB.com/breakingbarriers. MLB is commemorating the centennial celebration of Jackie Robinson’s birth throughout 2019, with League and Club efforts complementing activities led by the Jackie Robinson Foundation. This includes a year-long schedule honoring Jackie’s legacy in baseball and throughout society, including the Breaking Barriers educational program.

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