FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Monday, March 19, 2018
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Blind Students Win Braille Reading Contest

Seventeen Students Awarded Cash Prizes by National Federation of the Blind

Baltimore, Maryland (March 19, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading advocate for Braille literacy, has announced the winners of its 2017-2018 Nationwide Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest. The competition was sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois in partnership with the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB), which is also an NFB division. Eighty-one students from twelve states took part in the contest. The participating states were Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia.

Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “I am delighted that the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille and our Illinois affiliate have brought back this beloved contest. This year’s participation shows that Braille Readers Are Leaders is once again in full swing. The ability to read and write Braille competently and efficiently is the key to education, employment, and success for the blind. Through this contest, we encourage blind children to enhance their love of reading and their Braille skills so that they will be prepared to live the lives they want. Congratulations to all of the winners of this year’s contest, and to all of the students who took part.”

To compete in the contest, students submitted reading logs, counting the number of Braille pages they read between December 15, 2017 and February 1, 2018. The contestants with the top three page counts in each of five grade categories were awarded cash prizes: $25 for first place, $15 for second place, and $10 for third place and honorable mention. Every student who submitted a reading log received a package of Braille-related gifts. Here is the complete list of the 2017-2018 Nationwide Braille Readers Are Leaders winners:

Grades K-1

First Place: Cameron Gooden, Carterville, IL

Second Place: Ander Mielke, Havre, MT

Third Place: Kenji Torihara, Chicago, IL

Honorable Mention: Anastasia Marinos, Burr Ridge, IL

Grades 2-3

First Place, Aisha Safi, Chevy Chase, MD

Second Place: Preston Rose, Eagan, MN

Third Place: Anna Sayles, Peoria, IL

Honorable Mention: Ely Giraldo, Staunton, VA

Grades 4-5

First Place: Jonah Rao, Columbia, MD

Second Place: Isaiah Rao, Columbia, MD

Third Place: Karli Copes, Oak Grove, LA

Grades 6-8

First Place: Holly Connor, St. Louis, MO

Second Place: Nicholas Tarver, Many, LA

Third Place: Anthony Spears, Mattoon, IL

Grades 9-12

First Place: Maria-Luisa Montero-Olivero, Marietta, GA

Second Place: Marie Presume, Staunton, VA

Third Place: Kaelyn Kinlaw, Staunton, VA

KELLY DOTY AWARDS

The Kelly Doty Awards of $25 are given to students who overcome special challenges to achieve fluency in Braille reading. Such challenges include, but are not limited to, having disabilities in addition to blindness or being an English-language learner. The following students received 2018 Kelly Doty Awards:

Alan Bunay, Spring Valley, NY

Miracle Douglas, Peoria, IL

Isaiah Rao, Columbia, MD

Jonah Rao, Columbia, MD

Aisha Safi, Chevy Chase, MD

Nicholas Tarver, Many, LA