MUSKOGEE, Okla. –– Oklahoma School for the Blind awarded top prizes to Braille Challenge® winners at the regional competition held at the school campus in Muskogee.
Braille Challenge® is a national program sponsored by the Braille Institute, a nonprofit organization that eliminates barriers caused by blindness and severe sight loss.
Hunter Kelley was the overall winner in the freshman and apprentice categories.
Richelle Zampella earned top honors as the overall winner in the varsity and sophomore competition.
Zampella has competed three times at the national level and won first place in the United States and Canada at the junior varsity level in 2015.
The complete list of regional Braille Challenge® winners are;
1st Hunter Kelley
2nd Stephanie Story
3rd Mykel Eagle
1st Kolten Pennington
2nd Xerek Hitchcock
3rd Dayton Baccus
1st Gabrielle King
2nd Kishan Patel
3rd Morgan Hudson
1st Katelynn Zampella
2nd Hailey Baskeyfield
3rd Elbin Carrillo
1st Kaylee Ragon
2nd Nicholas Jackson-Morrison
3rd Holly Felkins
1st Richelle Zampella
2nd TaiYauri Thomas
3rd Ariana Richardson
All 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 our national guidelines. Each contestant will receive a brailled certificate of appreciation and general performance feedback, which will be sent to families and educators in May.
The Braille Institute will invite 50 finalists to compete in the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles on June 16 and 17.
National prize sponsors for OSB’s Braille Challenge® are Braille Institute, Humanware, Seedlings and National Braille Press.
Regional sponsors are the Oklahoma School for the Blind, Muskogee County Lions Club, Chelsea Lions Club, Sapulpa Lions Club, Nano Pac, NewView Oklahoma, Frank Dirksen, Oklahoma Council of the Blind, Oklahoma Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired, Liberty Braille and Ruth Kelly Studios.
Estimates indicate that approximately 18,600 Oklahomans are legally blind, while more than 128,000 have vision difficulties, according to 2015 U.S. Census data.
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. The school has maintained 100 percent graduation rate for five years. OSB provides hundreds of services each year, including free evaluations and consultations, for students attending local public schools, their families and local school staff. Oklahoma School for the Blind 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/.