District visually impaired academic readers compete in Braille Challenge

District visually impaired students from four campuses competed at the Region 13 Braille Challenge, an academic competition for braille readers.

McNeil High School freshman Adhy Singh took home the first-place medal in the junior varsity division. Adhy said he practiced every day to prepare for the competition. Specifically, he concentrated on managing his stress in the speed and accuracy category.

Fern Bluff Elementary School fifth-grader Madison White received a first-place medal and Chisholm Trail Middle School sixth-grader Elizabeth Winfield took home the second-place medal in the sophomore division.

Madison attributes her success to taking it slow and easy, not focusing on her nerves.

“I enjoy the competitions,”Madison said. “It gives people a real opportunity to collaborate.”

The Braille Challenge is a contest designed to motivate visually impaired students to emphasize their study of braille, while rewarding their success with fun-filled, but challenging local and national events, according to The Braille Institute. Competitors compete in four categories — proofreading, reading comprehension, transcribing dictation, and graphs and charts.

Elizabeth is a prolific reader and prepared by reading a lot on her own. She said one of her favorite book series is “The Hunger Games.”

“It was inspiring to me,” Elizabeth said. “The character is a strong independent woman trying to stay true to who she is.”

In June, competitors who accumulate the highest scores in their division from all over the nation will be invited to compete in the National Braille Challenge being held in California.

Other students who competed at the Region 13 Braille Challenge, include Hopewell Middle School sixth-grader Diego Alvarez and McNeil High School sophomore, Gillian Roberts who competed in the varsity division.