Future Reflections Winter 1988, Vol. 7 No. 1

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by Robin Scott

Editor's Note: The following article appeared in the April 24,1987 issue of The Virginian-Pilot, a local newspaper in Portsmouth, Virginia. The article was then reprinted in the August 1987 issue of the Braille Monitor, along with pictures of teacher, Debbie Prost and National Association to Promote the Use of Braille president, Betty Nicely.

Portsmouth-Dominique Artis, a blind 10-year- old from Portsmouth who likes the feel of words under his fingers, is the 1987 national champion Braille reader in his age group, the National Federation of the Blind announced Thursday.

In a contest to see which blind or partially sighted students could read the most, Dominique ran away with the title in the second through fourth grade division, a federation official said.

He read 7,054 pages during a three-month period ending Feb. 28. That was far more than his closest competition in a fieldsof more than 50 finalists, said Betty J. Nicely, president of the federation division that promotes reading of Braille.
That equals about 5,000 pages of regular print, or five novels the length of the Civil War epic "Gone With The Wind."
The federation started the contest three years ago, Nicely said, because blind people who can read and write Braille have a better chance of getting into professional careers.

Dominique is a fourth-grader at Portsmouth's James Hurst Elementary School. Most of the blind children in the city's public schools attend regular classes at Hurst, where specialists in teaching the blind are also available.

Dominique moves about the school on his own, using a cane. He uses the same texts as other student, only in Braille. He can write Braille by hand, using a stylus to punch holes in paper. He has a Braille typewriter and is also a touch typist on regular typewriters.

He lives in Portsmouth's West Park View section with his mother, Emily L. Artis, a brother and a sister.

For winning the contest, Dominique will get $50, a "Braille Readers are Leaders" T-shirt, a certificate and a ribbon.

In an interview, Dominique said he was excited to win the contest and intends to keep reading as much as he can.

"I don't have any more books," he said. "I've read them all."
Deborah Prost, a blind teacher who works with Dominique at Hurst, said getting enough Braille books to keep up with Dominique's reading speed has been a problem.

But Dominique did not seem overly concerned about his book supply on Friday. He was more interested in quizzing a reporter about newspaper computer systems and printing presses.

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