FHSD Students Excel in Regional Braille Challenge

Posted on 03/02/2020
FHSD students attend the Regional Braille Challenge

Five FHSD students who are blind or visually impaired recently put their skills to the test and earned some impressive awards at the Missouri Regional Braille Challenge hosted by the Missouri School for the Blind.

Olivia Wright, a fifth grader at Warren Elementary, earned first place in the competition, while Claire Wright, an eleventh grader at FHC, took home the third place prize in her own category. Luke McKeon, a fifth grader at Warren Elementary and Salome Cummins, a third grader at Warren, both earned second place. Tyler Groves, a seventh grader at Saeger, received honorable mention.

"I am so proud of them. They did great work, and they all seemed really happy and excited," said Ann Cummins, a visual impairment resource teacher and an orientation of mobility specialist for the District.

Any blind or visually impaired student from first grade through high school who can read and write braille is eligible to participate in the Braille Challenge. Contestants are divided into five categories and tested on fundamental braille skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. Contests are judged by volunteer Teachers of the Visually Impaired and scored locally by volunteer transcribers, based on national guidelines.

"The Braille Challenge is a great opportunity for the students to show their hard work and what they've achieved in braille," said Cummins. "Just like everyone else, being able to read and write is such a critical piece for students who are blind or visually impaired as they work towards their academic success, as well their future employment success."

Cummins attended the event as a teacher volunteer but also as a mother. Her daughter Salome has competed in the challenge for the past three years. The annual event has been an impactful and exciting opportunity for Salome, as well as many other students. "It’s good for the students to see that there are other people who value braille as a literacy medium,” shared Cummins.

Even though the students took the competition very seriously, they still had a blast along the way. “At the end of the day, they just celebrated and were so excited for each other.” In FHSD fashion, the students represented the District well with their skills and teamwork. Way to go, students!

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