FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Category: 
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 2011 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest

Competition Encourages Braille Usage Among the Blind

Baltimore, Maryland (December 14 , 2011): 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 2011 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest.  The NFB administered the Onkyo Braille Literacy Essay Contest in the U.S. on behalf of the North American/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 to pertain either to how the individual gains knowledge or independence through Braille or to an individual concept about world peace from the viewpoint of persons with disabilities.  There were two groups of competitors: a junior category for persons up to age twenty-five and a senior category for persons over age twenty-six.  Each winner received a substantial cash prize, a plaque, and other gifts from the Onkyo Corporation.

Dr. Marc Maurer, 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 impact Braille has had on their lives through their essays and also for raising awareness of the importance of Braille literacy throughout their everyday lives.”

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

OOTSUKI PRIZE
Kim Kilpatrick, Ottawa, Canada 

EXCELLENT WORK AWARD, SENIOR
Allison O'Day, Minnesota, USA

FINE WORK AWARDS, SENIOR
Lori Miller, Indiana, USA
Jason Meddaugh, Michigan, USA
Khadija Mohamedbhai, Ottawa, Canada

EXCELLENT WORK AWARD, JUNIOR
Hanna Chadwick-Dias, California, USA

FINE WORK AWARD, JUNIOR
Brittany Stovall, Missouri, USA

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 and Canada. 

For more information about the National Federation of the Blind, please visit www.nfb.org.