The unparalleled legacy of Jackie Robinson in the world of baseball has now taken root in the education of area students.
Students from various parts of New York and the Warren County (Pa.) School District visited the Robert H. Jackson Center for its 10th annual Young Readers Program, of which the centerpiece was a book entitled "Jackie's Nine."
The book was penned by Sharon Robinson, author and daughter of Jackie Robinson, and paints an inspirational portrait of her late father and the values she associates with his life. Robinson herself visited the center as a guest speaker Tuesday to discuss her book, which was read by the students and was the subject of a statewide book review essay contest for students in fifth through 12th grades.
"If I go to a school to talk about my dad, I always talk about his character," Robinson said. "You all know what a great baseball player he was, but it was really his character that allowed him to be successful."
Robinson said the goal of "Jackie's Nine" was to help youth learn about the nine principles that her father lived his life by, no matter the challenge. According to Robinson, these principles are: courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment and excellence.
She said she selected these values based on what she knew of her father's character on and off the field, and she chose to list nine values because nine is the common denominator of baseball. Her goal was to make the book engaging to her readers by challenging them to apply the values to their own lives.
"To have all of these young people here who have read 'Jackie's Nine' is an honor and, as an author, it can't get any better than that," Robinson said. "I wanted to share with them some of the joys of writing about my dad, and how his story has impacted my life. Hopefully his story has inspired their lives, as well."
Also in attendance were three student winners of the New York State Bar Association essay contest: Devyn Hall, of Milton L. Olive Middle School in Wyandanch; Jacob Kindberg, of Jamestown High School; and Eleanor Anderson-Zych of the Joseph C. Wilson Academy Foundation in Rochester.
The Warren County School District also held an essay contest amongst its sixth-graders. Five students from five separate schools were selected as winners: Hannah Ruland, of Beaty-Warren Middle School; Nick Collins, of Russell Elementary School; Dakota Hensel, of Youngsville Elementary/Middle School; Lilly Darling, of Sugar Grove Elementary School; and Carter O'Donnell, of Sheffield Area Middle/High School.
The Young Readers Program is part of the Robert H. Jackson Center's ongoing Youth Education Initiative, which focuses on educating young people about the life and accomplishments of Robert H. Jackson; public servant and statesman, U.S. Supreme Court justice and chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremburg.
Sponsors for the event include the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, New York State Bar Association Law, Youth and Citizenship Program, Ahlstrom-Schaeffer, Cattaraugus County Bank, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Comfort Inn, Cummins Engine, Double A Vineyards, E.E. Austin and Son, Evans Discount Liquor, Hope's Windows, The Legend Group, Curt and Joyce Sechler, Serta Mattress, Shults Management Group and Truck-Lite Inc.