A young girl who is breaking barriers

On National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the Steelers honored a young girl who is making her mark in the sports world in the Pittsburgh area and beyond.

Malajsha Mollett, a 10-year who is in the fourth grade at Pittsburgh Dilworth Traditional Academy, recently wrote and released a book, 'The Football Girl,' which is her own story of a young girl living out her dream of playing a sport that is dominated by boys.

Mollett's dream was to be different, to play the sport she loved and not worry about what others had to say. And she is doing just that, not just writing about playing football, but playing right alongside the boys and excelling along the way.

The Steelers celebrated her making that dream come true when linebacker Alex Highsmith made a surprise visit to the school to honor her and join her on stage to read the book.

Mollett, who is also a part of the school's African world drumming group, was on stage performing when Highsmith arrived and shared what he was there for. The moment definitely caught her by surprise, but she shined as she always does as her and Highsmith shared the honor of reading the book to the students who gathered to honor her.

"My family wanted me to write a book about how I started playing football and I was like, yeah, maybe I should write it," said Mollett. "And it felt good.

"I didn't know this was going to happen (today). Whenever we were doing our drum rehearsal, they told me it was going to be a surprise. The only thing they told me was you are going to be on TV. I was like, yeah, I am getting on TV again."

Highsmith presented Mollett with her own custom Steelers jersey, an autographed team football and even shared some pass rushing advice with the young star who plays offense and defense.

"It's an inspirational book about chasing your dreams," said Highsmith. "That is what matters. It was cool seeing her have big dreams like that. She is an inspiration to her classmates and others. It's about chasing your dreams and doing what you want to do. To see the dream she had come to life through the book is special. She is breaking barriers in football and in general. It was cool to be with her on this day.

"I asked her what position she likes to play and talked to her about it. Stold me on defense she likes to do the swim move and go after the quarterback. I told her that was my position and talked to her about it and gave her a few tips."

Mollett definitely loves the excitement that comes with playing football, whether she is carrying the ball or going after the quarterback.

"I love when I run the ball, get a touchdown or a first down," said Mollett. "I get all hype about it. On defense I like to do the swim move and get the quarterback. It's great."

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That's not all she gets hype about. Mollett is an honor roll student, athlete, drummer and so much more.

"She's an exceptionally good athlete, she's an avid reader and she's a wonderful student," said Qualisha Zyhier, M.A., the Principal at Dilworth. "She's a wonderful friend. She's also a musician, so she's extremely well-rounded.

"Here at Dilworth, we have celebrated her on several occasions. We've read the book out loud at our morning assemblies to all of the students. Malajsha is really comfortable in her own skin. She's very comfortable expressing her individuality and her uniqueness. She gets celebrated quite a lot in this building.

"I believe Malajsha's name is going to be trending for quite some time. I think that she is a beacon of light. She's a beacon of hope, especially now where self-expression is trending in of itself. She breaks the mold, and to be 10 years old breaking the mold and rewriting the norms of our general operations, how we see each other, how we receive each other, how we respect one another. She definitely is a trailblazer. Her name will be in lights."

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