Future Reflections Winter 1988, Vol. 7 No. 1

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Results of the 1986-87
NFB Braille Reading Contest
It is a wonderful thing to see children who love to read. Whether you are a parent or a teacher, there is nothing like the feeling you get when you know that you have helped open the doors of literacy to a child. Not only is reading a souce of life-long pleasure, but in our modern world it is also an essential to success in almost any field.

Despite the unchallenged importance of literacy, blind children today are in serious danger of becoming part of the nation's population of illiterates. Braille, the keystone of literacy for blind children, has fallen upon hard times. University training programs for teachers of the blind and visually impaired tell their students that Braille is "tedious and slow," that children with partial vision "can't" learn Braille. Teachers come out of these programs with poor attitudes about Braille, and even worse Braille skills. The implications this has for the education of blind children are obvious.

Of course, not every training program, nor every teacher of the blind and visually impaired has such negative attitudes about Braille. But too many, maybe even the majority, do. This is why the NFB Parents of Blind Children Division (POBC) and the National Association To Promote The Use Of Braille (NAPUB) organized the first, and only, National Braille Reading Contest for children. The purpose of the contest is to promote Braille reading among blind school children. The premise is simple. The more blind children read Braille, the more they will like it. The more they like it, the more they will read. And the more they read, the better they get.

The letters and comments we receive from parents and teachers tell us this is true. The President of NAPUB, Betty Nicely, received a letter from one mother who said, "This is the first year my son has entered your contest, as it's the first year he's really reading his own Braille books! He's excited about the contest and I'm delighted to see him motivated. (Reading Braille has been a real trial for him). I'm so glad you have something like this. Thank You!"

Another parent called her and told her how, for the first time, her son was reading Braille for pleasure. Before the contest, he would only read Braille in class and when it was required by teacher. The contest changed that.

So, it is with pride that we announce the winner of the 1986-87

NFB Braille Reading Contest! From December 1,1986 to March 1,1987 these children and youth 1 read thousands of Braille pages. They showed] determination, persistence, and often ingenuity \ in their efforts to win a top place in this contest. They are to be commended and recognized for their achievement.

As winners, they received cash prizes ($50 for first place, $25 for second, and $5 for third), special certificates, and a T- shirt with the NFB logo and the words, "I'm A Winner. Braille Readers Are Leaders."

On several occasions we have had teachers and parents ask us about the number of pages read by the top winners. This time we are listing the number of pages read by each winner. Also, if you are interested in statistics of this sort, there are some interesting ones given at the end of this article.

We also want to recognize that, in a special way, all the participants in the contest are "winners." They have learned that reading Braille is fun and is its own reward. They have also begun to understand that, with good Braille skills, they can compete on a basis of equality with their sighted friends and classmates. All contestants received a certificate and ribbon just for participating and doing their best.
So, here are the winners and all the other children and youth who entered the 1986-87 contest.


Beginning Print to Braille:
First: Renee Fields, Covington, KY. (Kentucky School For The Blind) Age 9, Grade 3. 2,871 pages.
Second: George William Doumitt, Jackson, TN. Age 10, Grade 4.1,166 pages.
Third: Shirley Chesson, Texas City, TX. Age 15, Grade 8.859 pages.

Kindergarten and First Grade
First: Jason Meddaugh, Saginaw, MI. Age 6, Grade 1.2,199 pages.
Second: Noel Romey, Phoenix, AZ. Age 7, Grade 1.1,913 pages.
Third: Alicia M. Richards, Palo, LA. Age 6, Grade 1.1,003 pages.

Second through Fourth Grades
First: Dominique Artis, Portsmouth, VA. Age 10, Grade 4.7,054 pages.
Second: Kristy Newell, Rochester, NY. Age 10, Grade 4.6,881 pages.
Third: Sara Rooz, Brooklyn, NY., Age 10, Grade 4.5,114 pages.

Fifth through Eight Grades
First: Cara Mae Aase, Fort Dix, NJ., Age 12, Grade 5.10,913 pages.
Second: Michelle Ferritto, Ventura, CA., Age 13, Grade 8.6,773 pages.
Third: Michelle Magness, Knox, PA. Age 10, Grade 5.3,649 pages.

Ninth through Twelfth Grades
First: Mike Riley, Anderson. IN. (Indiana School For The Blind) Age 18, Grade 12.17,169 pages.
Second: Kimberly Verschaeve, Harper Wood's, MI. Age 16, Grade 10.6,538 pages.
Third: Mary Fischer, Hillsdale, NJ. Age 17, Grade 11.5,397 pages.

The following names are not in any particular order. That is, we simply wrote the name down as we came to it.
Beginning Print to Braille:
1. Buster Burden, Penns Grove, NJ.
2. Kory Williams, Carmel, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
3. John Hollowell, Portsmouth, VA.
4. Amy Comanzo, Schenectady, NY.
5. Matthew Nixon, Shelburne, VT.
6. Matthew Crimmins, Port Huron, MI.

Kindergarten and First Grade:
1. Tracy Smith, Barbourville, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
2. Christine Greenstreet, Gaithersburg, MD.
3. Tabatha Brown, Burlington, VT.
4. Jenifer Barr, Hubbard, OH.
5. Jaime Zadzilka, Parma Heights, OH.
6. David Beckley, St. Louis, MO. (Missouri School for the Blind)
7. Niral Sheth, Parma, OH.
8. Harry Weber, Crookston, RUN.
9. Karla Gilbride, Syosset, NY.
10. Terrial Jennings, Missouri City, TX.

Second through Fourth Grade:
1. Tara Rolan, Jersey City, NJ.
2. Crystal Williams, Louisville, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
3. David Shoemaker, Flemingsburg, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
4. Jeannie Martin, Petaluma, CA.
5. John D. Nichols, Walnut, CA.
6. Brooke Householder, New Kensington, PA.
7. Christopher Horan, Virginia Beach, VA.
8. Shawn Cox, Portsmouth, VA.
9. Kathy Jones, Klamath Falls, OR.
10. Timothy Keenan, Shrewsbury, MA.
11. Justin Howard Williams, Columbia, SC.
12. Bryan Smart, Greenville, SC.
13. Steven Martin, Petaluma, CA.
14. Scott William Davis, Rochester, NY.
15. Matthew Hackert, Belle Mead, NJ.
16. Jason Dobbs, Nevada, MO. (Missouri School for the Blind)
17. Candie L. Stiles, Binghamton, NY.
18. Iyad Shaham, Sandy Hook, CT.
19. Richard Mattrella, Highland Heights, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
20. Deedra Kay Mentzer, Knoxville, TN.
21. Jeremy Schmidt, Bismarck, ND.
22. Janet Pursley, Benkelman, NE.
23. Alex Ruiz, Tucson, AZ (Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind)
24. Mary Abbott, Shawnee, KS. (Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped)
25. Regina Morris, Mt. Eden, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
26. Kelli Jay O'Brien, Southampton, PA.
27. Twalla Gipson, Chicago, IL.
28. Cheryl Bates, Indianapolis, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
29. Christina Reed, Montgomery, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
30. Jenny Flynn, New Castle, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
31. Brett Boyer, Boonton, NJ.
32. Jennifer Culver, Albertville, AL. (Alabama School for the Blind)
33. Rinita Vyas, Brook Park, OH.
34. Marc Mulcahy, Cedar Rapids, IA
35. Scott Bajan, North Olmsted, OH.
36. Gary Christian, Clanton, AL. (Alabama School for the Blind)
37. Charlotte Lang, Lacey Springs, AL. (Alabama School for the Blind)
38. Jenny Breen, Waterloo, NY.
39. LaToya Fleming, Oakland, CA.
40. Jennifer Drewniak, Dunkirk, NY.
41. Jessica Carter, Glen, AZ.
42. Andrea Fitzgerald, Sebastapol, CA
43. Kenneth Spector, Tucson, AZ. (Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind)
44. Michelle M. Nichols, New Madrid, MO.
45. Brian Corliss, Whiting, NJ.
46. Wendy M. Rock, Greencastle, PA
47. Joanna VanMeter, Paris, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
48. Racquel Gibbs, Lansing, MI. (Michigan School for the Blind)

Fifth through Eighth Grade:
1. Kellie Walders, Huntington Beach, CA.
2. Brad David Martin, Mobile, AL. (Southwest Regional School for Deaf and Blind)
3. Marcus Williams, Troy, AL. (Alabama School for the Blind)
4. Daniel Klemp, Ixonia, WI.
5. Ginny Quick, Peru, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
6. Amanda Vance, Indianapolis, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
7. Chad Grover, Corning, NY.
8. Abby Purvis, Kansas City, KS. (Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped)
9. Johnny Saylor, Baxter, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
10. Joyce Chesser, Louisville, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
11. Michael Cochran, Hazard, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
12. Rhonda Roeper, Covington, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
13. Jeremy Todd Hall, Clarksville, TN.
14. Chris Simmons, Louisville, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
15. Gavin Walkington, Woodstock, IL.
16. Jody Milisavic, Bloomsburg, PA.
17. Angela Chandler, Kansas City, KS. (Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped)
18. Penney Smalley, Kansas City, KS. (Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped)
19. Todd Struve, Upland, CA.
20. Lauren Burger, New York, NY.
21. Nick Giudiee, Tariffville, CT.
22. Justin Fegel, Bucyrus, OH.
23. Randall Horwitz, DeWitt, NY.
24. Eric J. Scholz, Farmington, CA
25. Regina Crisafulli, Slingerlands, NY.
26. Pat McKenna, Millington, NJ.
27. Hope Braxton, Washington, D.C.
28. Ronald D. Wells, Washington, D.C.
29. Thomas McKeithan, Washington, D.C.
30. Sharin Duffy, Glenmont, NY.
31. Stephanie Pruitt, Texas City, TX.
32. Christopher Walters, Marcellus, NY.
33. Ryan Coverdell, Amanda, OH.
34. Wayne Mensinger, Nescopeck, PA.
35. Jeffrey Tomlinson, Manheim, PA.
36. Debbie Pruitt, Texas City, TX.
37. Andrew Hunsberger, Royersford, PA.
38. Bridget Greenwalt, Crownpoint, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
39. Tara Maxberry, Carmel, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
40. Elizabeth Anderson, Benton, IL.
41. Bethany Weisend, North Canton, OH.
42. Lori Miller, Warsaw, IN.

Ninth through Twelfth Grade:
1. Brian Seko, Catasaugua, PA.
2. Elisha Gilliland, Oakgrove, AL. (Alabama School for the Blind)
3. Angelina Hernandez, Sacramento, CA.
4. Danny Kelley, Gadsden, AL. (Alabama School for the Blind)
5. Tony Sohl, Chandler, AZ.
6. Abraham Murguia, Mesa, AZ.
7. Brian White, Kokomo, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
8. Laura Westlin, Faribault, RUN. (Minnesota State Academy for the Blind)
9. Cassie Hale, Kansas City, KS. (Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped)
10. Man Rasheed, Mesa, AZ.
11. Ken St. Amour, Burlington, VT.
12. Abby Fleenor, Greensburg, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
13. Jan Roberts, Greensburg, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
14. Johnny Haynes, Anniston, AL. (Alabama School for the Blind)
15. Tona Snoeberger, Idaville, IN. (Indiana School for the Blind)
16. Tracy L. Root, Grand Blanc, MI.
17. Nancy Williams, Fredonia, KY. (Kentucky School for the Blind)
18. Linda Radtke, Minneapolis, RUN.
19. Marc Medewin, Delmar, NY.


In the 1984-85 contest we had 125 participants. In 1985-86 we had 164. We came down some in numbers in 1986-87 with a total of 140 participants.

The total number of pages read by the fifteen winners in the 1984-85 contest came to 50,062. In 1985-86, the fifteen winners read a total of 69,722 pages, or 19,660 pages more than the winners of the previous year. In 1986-87, the winners read a total of 79,999 Braille pages. This represented 10,277 more pages than the winners in 1985-86 and 29,937 over the pages read by the 1984-85 winners.

The average number of pages read by the winners in each of the three contests were:

Print to Braille: 2,113
K-First Grades: 657
Second-Fourth Grades: 5,351
Fifth-Eighth Grades: 4,545
Ninth-Twelfth Grades: 4,020

Print to Braille: 1,708
K-First Grades: 2,462
Second-Fourth Grades: 5,340
Fifth-Eighth Grades: 5,434
Ninth-Twelfth Grades: 8,328

Print to Braille: 1,798
K-First Grades: 1,705
Second-Fourth Grades: 6,349
Fifth-Eighth Grades: 7,111
Ninth-Twelfth Grades: 9,701

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