Release Date: 
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Announces Winners of 2016 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest

Competition Encourages Braille Usage Among the Blind

Baltimore, Maryland (January 11, 2017): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States, is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. The NFB administered the Onkyo Braille Essay Contest on behalf of the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union. The essay contest, sponsored by Onkyo Corporation, a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, and the Braille Mainichi, part of the Mainichi Newspaper Company in Japan, was created to promote Braille literacy and to encourage the sharing of social and cultural information among blind and visually impaired persons.

The essays were required to be written in Braille and could be written on a variety of proposed topics related to the importance of Braille. There were two groups of competitors: a junior category for persons up to age twenty-five and a senior category for persons aged twenty-six or older. Each winner received a substantial cash prize, a plaque, and other gifts from the Onkyo Corporation.

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We are very pleased to have been a part of this important contest. There can be no doubt that the ability to read and write Braille competently and efficiently is the key to education, employment, and success for the blind. Despite the undisputed value of Braille, however, only about 10 percent of blind children in the United States are learning it. We congratulate the contest winners and commend them for demonstrating the positive impact Braille has had on their lives through their essays, and also for raising awareness of the importance of Braille literacy as they live the lives they want.”

The seven winners from the North America/Caribbean Region were as follows:

Otsuki Prize

Larry Johnson, Texas, US


Excellent Work Award, Senior

Carol Begay Green, New Mexico, US


Fine Work Award, Senior

Charmaine Co, British Columbia, Canada

Ann Parsons, New York, US


Excellent Work Award, Junior

Juan Avila, California, US


Fine Work Award, Junior

Josh Andrews, Illinois, US

Samoya Jordan, Kingston, Jamaica


The NFB encouraged all countries in the North America/Caribbean Region to participate in the Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. Essays were submitted from the United States, Canada, and Jamaica.