Fifth grader breaks barriers and wins big

Many young boys dream of stepping foot on a Major League baseball field.

A Lewis County 5th grader had a chance to do just that last month. Fernando Jon Murphy of LaGrange was assigned to write an essay for the Breaking Barrier:

In Sports, In Life essay contest at Highland Elementary last February.

Major League Baseball and Scholastic, Inc. created the contest more than 10 years ago.

It honors students students for overcoming personal barriers, just as Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson did in 1947.

Murphy won the contest, becoming one of nine finalists chosen from about 8,000 entries across the country.

He and his class won this trip to a St. Louis Cardinals game April 23rd, where Jackie Robinson's daughter, Sharon, presented Murphy with autographed copies of her book, t-shirts, a laptop computer and a laptop computer for his teacher.

But things haven't always been easy for Murphy. He, along with his two older sisters, spent about 3 years in an orphanage in Colombia, South America before getting adopted by their new family, Ted and Cathy Murphy of LaGrange, about 2 and a half years ago.

What did you think when you arrived here?

Murphy says, "I could smell a different smell in Colombia. My bed, it was so good!"

Murphy wrote about his experience learning a new culture and English, since Spanish was his first language.

What was it like to come to a new country? Did people treat you differently?He says, "Sometimes they treated me differently. Sometimes they treated me nice and good."

Were people nice to you?Murphy says, "sometimes."It just depended on the person?He answers, "Yes."

He loves his life now in the U.S., and wouldn't trade it for anything. Soccer is his favorite sport, while baseball is a close second.