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Along with its top players, Major League Baseball is recognizing a very special 11-year-old at the All-Star Game. Asma Kaukab is a fifth grader at Shaw Avenue Elementary School in Valley Stream, New York. She wrote an essay describing the pain of being teased because of her Muslim faith.
"Wearing a hijab, a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women is a part of some of the things we do," she wrote. "Sometimes I feel like I want to take it off, so kids won't say anything to me anymore."
Asma said she wanted to help others, who go through some of the same things she does. It certainly helped her teacher Karin Savino understand.
"It was hurtful. Our school seemingly is a wonderful place and it's sad that she had that experience," she said.
Asma was born in America and her parents are from Pakistan. She shared her experience as part of the Breaking Barriers program at her school. The two month curriculum was developed by Major League Baseball, Scholastic and Sharon Robinson, the daughter of Jackie Robinson. It culminates with a nationwide essay contest.
"We get lessons from history but we want to be able to contemporize it. We learn so much about children across the country and what they're experiencing," she said.
In April, Asma's essay was picked out of over 10,000 entries as the best in the country. Two weeks later, Sharon Robinson came to see Asma read her essay to the entire school.
"Now people are trying to include me more and they don't exactly say names to me and they kind of invite me to play games with them. So it's gotten a lot better," Asma said.
Things got better outside of school too. Her grand prize includes an all-expense paid trip to the All-Star Game. Monday night, before the, she was honored by thousands in Cleveland.