MUSKOGEE, Okla. –– Braille literacy is the key to education and eventually employment for many students with vision impairments.
That’s why 30 Oklahoma students competed and 18 of them earned top awards in the Braille Challenge® regional competition held at Oklahoma School for the Blind.
The national Braille Challenge® program is sponsored by the Braille Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on eliminating barriers caused by blindness and severe sight loss.
The Braille Institute is celebrating its 100th Year of free service this year.
In addition to earning a gold medal in varsity category, OSB senior Richelle Zampella from Muskogee earned the highest overall score in the sophomore, junior varsity and varsity categories.
OSB fourth-grader Hunter Kelley from Claremore won a gold medal and the highest overall score in the apprentice and freshman categories.
The medal-winners are:
Richelle Zampella, Muskogee – gold and overall score in the sophomore, junior varsity and varsity categories
TaiYauri Thomas, OKC – silver
Ariana Richardson, Enid - bronze
Kaylee Ragon, Tecumseh – gold
Lilith Pederson, Anadarko – silver
Kolten Pennington, Roff - bronze
Lydia Bradley, Stilwell – gold
Zoie Zavala, Ardmore – silver
Morgan Hudson, Westville - bronze
Katelynn Zampella, Muskogee – gold
Elbin Carrillo, OKC - silver
Julio Valdez, OKC – bronze
Ocie Webster, Briggs – gold
Mykel Eagle, Stilwell - silver
Kesslee Travis, Muskogee - bronze
Hunter Kelly, Claremore - gold
Stephanie Story, Tulsa – silver
Quante Sellers, OKC - bronze
Braille Challenge® competitors test their skills in the academic contest, which measures students’ proficiency in braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading and tactile graphics.
Contests are proctored by volunteer teachers for visually impaired students and scored locally by volunteer transcribers according to national guidelines.
In addition to the Braille Institute and Oklahoma School for the Blind, Braille Challenge® regional competition sponsors are L S & S, Nanopac, Muskogee County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, NewView Oklahoma, Humanware, Liberty Braille, Frank Dirksen, Oklahoma Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Ruth Kelly Studios, Sapulpa Lions Club and Oklahoma Council of the Blind.
Each contestant received a commemorative t-shirt and Braille certificate of appreciation. Families and educators will also receive general performance feedback in May.
The Braille Institute will invite 50 finalists to compete in the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles in June.
Oklahoma School for the Blind is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
OSB 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 that are not available at many public schools in the state. OSB provides free evaluations, consultations and outreach services for students attending local public schools, their families and local school educators.
For more information, phone 877-229-7136 toll free or visit http://osb.k12.ok.us/.