Future Reflections  Summer 2006

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Braille Readers Are Leaders Wraps-up Another Great Year!

by Courtney Lawrence

NFB Kansas City Chapter President, Ruby Polk honors, fifth grader, Holly Carneal.After twenty-three years, the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest is still going strong! This year, close to 350 blind students of all ages and from all over the nation participated in the contest. In fact, they read a combined total of over 450,000 pages! Top readers such as Ana Maria Miranda (Arizona), Marisa A. Parker (Massachusetts), and Merlyn Hileman (California) each read over 16,000 pages in the three-month long contest! Additionally, this year four students were selected and acknowledged for their outstanding community service and promotion of Braille Literacy. While the Braille Leaders Community Service Award is still new to the contest, we hope that in upcoming years more contest participants will take that next step from being outstanding readers, to using those reading skills to give back to others in their communities. Again, we congratulate Hannah Weatherd of Wyoming, the 2006 Braille Leaders Community Service winner--and Kristin McCoy (Missouri), Estin Talavara (Kansas), and Andrew Nantz (Oregon)--Community Service Honorable Mentions.

Along with the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and National Association to Promote the Use of Braille’s joint awards and recognitions, several state affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind and area schools honored their local Braille readers. The NFB of Pennsylvania recently held a special awards ceremony at the St. Lucy’s Day School for the Children with Visual Impairments, where the state president, Jim Antonocci, presented savings bonds to the top readers from Pennsylvania. The NFB of Maryland also held a special party and awards ceremony for participants throughout the state of Maryland, including nineteen students from the Maryland School for the Blind.

NFB of Maryland President, Sharon Maneki, congratulates Joshua Gregory as one of the nation's Braille Readers Are Leaders winners.Other participating communities are honoring their students as well. In Lathrop, Missouri, NFB Kansas City Chapter President Ruby Polk, along with seventy-five fifth graders and ABC Channel 9 News, honored the states top winner, Holly Carneal. Holly’s 1,430 pages places her among the top twenty contestants nationwide in her category. That’s certainly newsworthy, and was indeed reported on the First News, Kansas City.

Rhode Island printed an article in its’ The Valley Breeze publication honoring seven-year-old John “JW” Frampton’s accomplishment of reading 1, 449 pages and earning top honors in the kindergarten through first grade category of the contest. In Delaware, W. Reily Brown Elementary School honored fourth grade participant, Larry Byler for reading 4,901 pages (or approximately fifty-two pages per day) during the contest, with a write-up in the school newsletter.

Next years contest commences November 1, and runs through January 31, 2007. After this year’s outstanding results, our Braille readers and leaders promise to impress again in 2007 with their next stack of books! Congratulations again to all!

2005-2006 Braille Readers Are Leaders Winners

Most Improved
Rachael Cardwell, MD
David Carnes, KY
Isaac Hebert, LA
Arthur McClendon, MO
Somaya Tarin, AZ
Miranda Manic, CA
Gerald Passero, LA
Aaron Reed, KY
Justin Thompkins, MO
Tobias Vogelstein, MD

Print to Braille
Ashley Brow, MA (2,507)
Veronica Puente, NC (1,970)
Jennifer Roule, FL (729)
Mario Mancillo, KS (706)
Anthony “Tony” James, NY (560)
Paulino “Armani” Correia, MA (509)
Hannah Siemer, OH (504)
Hien Nguyen, OH (467)
Kate Webster, CT (442)
Billy Anderson, CA (387)

Grades K – 1
Ellie Hardwick, VA (2,987)
Alyssa Townsend, IL (1,697)
Kathleen Budd , MI (1,678)
John “JW” Frampton, RI (1,449)
Gabriella Welsh, WI (1,281)
Andrew Zeman, WI (1,145)
Grace Miller, WA (1,070)
Yesenia Carpio, AZ (723)
Mia Correia, MA (666)
Lauren Thomson, IA (639)

Grades 2 – 3
Merlyn Hileman, CA (16,316)
Marche Daughtry, VA (6,530)
Vejas Vasiliauskas, CA (5,549)
Samantha Simonton, GA (5,313)
Nathan Stocking, MN (3,753)
Logan Elizabeth Anderson, IN (3,176)
Annabelle Costanzo, IA (3,166)
John Soovagian, OH (2,407)
Kodie Jo Arnold, OR (2,306)
Brian Martin, CT (2,242)

Grades 4 – 5
Marisa A. Parker, MA (16,411)
Christopher Palmieri, CT (6,564)
Lydia Elizabeth Evans, AL (6,341)
Paige Tuttle, KS (5,628)
Kelcey Schlichting, MO (5,276)
Larry Byler, DE (4,901)
Morgan Budreau, MN (4,611)
Dasha Radford, NC (4,495)
Danielle Burton, KY (4,054)
Meredith Pell, CA (3,274)

Grades 6 – 8
Tiana Knight, CN (14,400)
Daniel Dintzner, MA (9,559)
Ashley Jackson, TN (6,266)
Kevin Andrews, MI (5,332)
Joshua Pearson, MA (5,233)
Greg Botting, MI (5,175)
Sylvia Modesitt, MO (4,200)
Jennifer Wing-Proctor, MI (3,642)
Joshua Gregory, MD (3,463)
Ka Yat Li, CN (3,147)

Grades 9 – 12
Ana Maria Miranda, AZ (16,600)
Jonathan Wong, CA (11,992)
Estin Talavera, KS (11,435)
Leah Grinder, MD (8,022)
Dionne Dyer, FL (7,562)
Jessica Watson, MD (6,660)
Jennifer Hyams, KY (6,301)
Alexis Tamayo, AZ (6,267)
Keith Hinton, AZ (5,601)
Nick Rice, AZ (5,118)

Braille Leaders Community Service Award Recipient
Hannah Weatherd, WY

Honorable Mention
Kristen McCoy, MO
Andrew Nantz, OR
Estin Talavera, KS

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