On February 25, we welcomed 22 students and their families to the 2017 Northern California Regional Braille Challenge at the LightHouse headquarters. It was a lively day packed with speeches by keynote speakers, testing for students, parent workshops, games and a final award ceremony (complete with a surprise musical performance by a group of contestants).
Hosted in collaboration with Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, California School for the Blind and Braille Institute of America, the Regional Braille Challenge is the first leg of a two-part contest for K-12 youth who read braille. It is designed to encourage and reward students for fine-tuning their braille reading and writing skills.
Any parent or student on Saturday would tell you that Braille Challenge is an unparalleled platform for promoting braille literacy and bringing braille readers of all ages into one space — whether as contestants or judges. It’s also a chance for kids to connect with their blind friends, chuckle about inside jokes, and for parents to learn more about having a child with vision loss and how best to support them (hint from one of our college panelists: “Don’t shelter them!”)
Braille Challenge is not about winning (though we don’t mind a little friendly competition) but we’d like to recognize the students who placed!
Here are the winners of each level of competition. Once all of the Braille Challenge regionals are complete the Braille Institute will invite the top 10% of all of the students that competed in all of the various regionals to the national Braille Challenge later this year.
2017 Northern California Regional Braille Challenge Winners
Apprentice 1. Miles Lima 2. Darren Ou 3. Mikey Diaz
Freshman – 1. Teresa Liu 2. Logon Maschke 3. Melina Mendoza
Sophomore – 1. Luke Pilar 2. Rasheed Ali 3. Alejandro Cervantes
Junior Varsity – 1. Ethan Fung 2. Kaitlyn Austin 3. Rocco Romeo
Varsity – 1. Alexia Arriola
Find a selection of photos from the day-long event below!