MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Three Oklahoma School for the Blind students will compete this June in the national Braille Challenge® finals competition in Los Angeles.
Braille Challenge® is a national program sponsored by the Braille Institute, a nonprofit organization that eliminates barriers caused by blindness and severe sight loss.
This year’s winners represent the largest number of Oklahoma students ever qualified to participate at the national level. They are: Hunter Kelley from Claremore, Katelynn Zampella and Richelle Zampella, both from Muskogee.
The Oklahoma students were selected based on their scores in the Oklahoma Regional Braille Challenge® held at OSB in March.
Nationally, the OSB students’ outstanding scores placed them in the top ten in their divisions among 1,125 contestants at 51 Regional Braille Challenge events. Braille students in grades one through 12 from the participated at the regional level.
Richelle Zampella has participated four times in the national competition and won first place at the junior varsity level in 2015.
Now an OSB sophomore, Zampella won first place honors in the junior varsity division in the Oklahoma Regional Braille Challenge this year. She earned top honors as the overall winner in the varsity and sophomore categories for grades seven through 12
Katelynn Zampella, an OSB fifth-grader, previously qualified for the national competition in 2015. This year, she earned a first place award in the sophomore category during the 2017 regional contest.
Second grader Hunter Kelley will be going to the national Braille Challenge® for the first time. He earned a first place award in the apprentice category and was the overall winner in both the freshman and apprentice categories in the regional competition.
The Braille Challenge® measures students’ proficiency in braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading and tactile graphics.
The Oklahoma School for the Blind is the statewide resource for the education of blind and visually impaired students. Residential and commuter students meet all state-mandated education requirements and receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility, optimum use of low vision, adaptive equipment technology and tactile graphic skills not readily available at other public schools in the state. OSB provides hundreds of services each year, including free evaluations and consultations, for students attending local public schools, their families and local school staff.
OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
For more information about the Oklahoma School for the Blind, phone 877-229-7136 toll free or visit http://osb.k12.ok.us/