MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Twenty-seven students who are blind or visually impaired are registered to compete February 28 in the Oklahoma Regional Braille Challenge® sponsored by the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee.
Last year, OSB eighth-grade student Richelle Zampella advanced from this regional competition to place second in the sophomore division at the national Braille Challenge® in Los Angeles.
She is the first person from Oklahoma to place at the national level in this competition.
The Braille Challenge® is a national program of Braille Institute of America and one of the top academic competitions for blind students in the United States.
OSB students and those who attend local schools will participate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the OSB campus at 3300 Gibson Street.
During the competition, participants, ages six to 19, will compete in five categories requiring them to transcribe, type and read braille using a device called a Perkins Brailler.
Each category is designed to test braille skills in several areas—reading comprehension, braille spelling, chart and graph reading, proofreading and braille speed and accuracy.
Students from the U.S. and Canada are completing preliminary testing this winter in hopes of qualifying for the 60 spots available in the national competition, which will be held in June at the Braille Institute’s headquarters in Los Angeles.
OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
Braille is internationally recognized as the foundation of literacy when students’ visual impairments prevent efficient use of print. It enables them to learn and practice spelling, punctuation, composition styles, and research and study skills.
Studies show that only 30 percent of blind adults are employed full-time , while 90 percent of those who beat the odds are braille readers.
Approximately 18,000 Oklahomans are legally blind, while more than 111,000 have vision difficulties, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.
For more information about Braille Challenge®, contact Sherry Holder at 918-441-2749 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Oklahoma School for the Blind is fully accredited and teaches specialized skills that help students live independently, as well as all state-mandated education requirements. During the average school year, nearly 100 residential and commuter students attend OSB and approximately 60 participate in summer school programs. Qualified staff provided thousands of outreach service hours and evaluations for students attending local schools, in-service teacher training and recommendations for classroom modifications and special equipment that helps local students reach their full potential, all free of charge. The graduation rate is 100 percent.