Reds to honor 'Breaking Barriers' winner

Reds to honor 'Breaking Barriers' winner

The Reds and Sharon Robinson, daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, will host a pregame ceremony on Friday to honor Raeya Ponugoti, the grand-prize winner of the 2012 "Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life" essay contest.

The on-field recognition at Great American Ball Park will begin at approximately 6:50 p.m. ET, prior to the Reds' series opener against the Astros.

Ponugoti, a fifth-grade student at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, won the essay contest for her piece about her journey to pursue her passion for dance while dealing with bullying. Sharon Robinson, an author and Major League Baseball Educational Programming Consultant, also met with Ponugoti and her classmates at the school on Friday morning to share Jackie Robinson's story.

The "Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life" program was developed by MLB, Sharon Robinson and Scholastic, with the purpose of helping students in grades four through nine deal with barriers and challenges in their lives. Jackie Robinson's ability to break professional baseball's color barrier in 1947 serves as the basis for the program.

The contest's 2011 winner, Meggie Zahneis, is currently a youth correspondent for, having earned the position last fall.

Paul Casella is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.