By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Enid seventh-grader Ariana Richardson brought home a silver award in the junior varsity category at the Oklahoma Regional Braille Challenge, hosted by the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee.
This is not the first time Ariana has done well in braille competition. Last year, Ariana earned third place in the sophomore category. In 2012, she earned a silver prize in the freshman category and second prize overall in the apprentice and freshman groups.
Students at OSB stay at the Muskogee school Monday through Friday. Among OSB’s current students are five from Garfield County, three from Woodward County and one from Kingfisher County.
“They attend four days a week and are home Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said Jody Harlan, communications director for Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. “The parents like it because they are home extra days.”
Braille Challenge is a national program sponsored by the Braille Institute, a nonprofit organization that eliminates barriers caused by blindness and severe sight loss.
Ariana was one of 25 students competing in the contest, which measured proficiency in braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading and tactile graphics.
Faye Miller, OSB teacher, said it’s possible some of the competitors could go on to national competition.
“We expect to find out in early May which of our competitors qualify for the national competition in Los Angeles,” Miller said.
Regional competition sponsors are OSB, Armstrong Bank, Frank Dirksen, Galt Foundation, Hadley School for the Blind, Liberty Braille, Mobility Plus, Nano Pac, NewView Oklahoma, Oklahoma Association for the Education and Rehabilitation for Blind and Visually Impaired, Oklahoma Council for the Blind, OKvision, Ruth Kelly Studios, Sapulpa Lions Club, Senator Earl Garrison, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program and HIMS.
Braille is an arrangement of six raised dots, two across and three down. Each combination of dots represents letters of the print alphabet. Braille dots are designed to be read with the fingertips.
“Braille is internationally recognized as the foundation of literacy when a student’s visual impairment prevents efficient use of print,” said Jim Adams, OSB superintendent. “Braille enables students to learn and practice spelling, punctuation, composition styles, and research and study skills.”
OSB is fully accredited and teaches specialized skills that help students live independently as well as all state-mandated education requirements.
For more information about the school, go to osb.k12.ok.us.