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August 28, 2009
Dear President Obama:
My name is Macy Lewis. I am nineteen years old, and I am blind. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn Braille when I was little. Braille has enriched my life in many ways, and I’d like to thank my parents and teachers for helping me learn Braille so that I can succeed in my education.
I learned Braille as my primary means of reading and writing; however, I have enough vision so that I was also taught to read print letters and numbers. My experience with Braille throughout my life has been irreplaceable. When I was younger and I had to do projects such as a poster for the science fair, I would always put Braille on them so that I could describe what was on the posters to sighted people if they asked. I would also Braille all of my oral presentations, and I'd usually impress the teachers because I could look at the audience while giving my report. I would Braille the names of classmates for Valentine’s Day and give my friends my name in Braille at yearbook signings because they always enjoyed seeing and touching Braile. I spoke at this year's Utah convention of the National Federation of the Blind, and I used my PacMate (a Braille Computer) to read my speech. My remarks were well received.
Thanks to Braille I have been able to experience so many things--some simple and others complicated and challenging. Reading a book in Braille is one of my favorite things to do. As I became more advanced in school, I had to learn the Braille code that corresponds with science and mathematics. Braille has also allowed me to take French to ensure I would graduate from high school. I wanted to take on the challenge of learning French even though I knew I'd have to work a little harder to learn it in Braille.
I am beginning my second year at the University of Utah, working toward a bachelor's degree in history. After college I plan either to attend law school or to earn a master's degree so that I can become a teacher of blind students. I went to Washington, D.C., several years ago, and I was pleased to learn about FDR’s advocacy for disabled people. I walked around the gardens at his memorial, and I read the Braille on the walls there. I also went to visit Helen Keller’s grave in the National Cathedral, and I was proud to read her plaque in Braille.
I am grateful for Louis Braille, who invented this amazing method of reading and writing. Thanks to him blind people everywhere have the opportunity to learn to read, write, and become tomorrow's future. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
Macy M. Lewis