Four students in the Francis Howell School District’s Vision Program placed at the annual Missouri Regional Braille Challenge this year. Salome Cummins of Warren Elementary took first place in the Freshman Division, Olivia Wright of Francis Howell Middle took third place in the Sophomore Division, Luke McKeon of Francis Howell Middle received an honorable mention in the Sophomore Division, and Claire Wright of Francis Howell Central High was awarded third place in the Junior Varsity Division. The 2021 Saint Louis Regional Braille Challenge by the Missouri School for the Blind is the only academic competition in North America for students who are blind or visually impaired. The Braille Institute of America developed The Braille Challenge to motivate students to practice and hone their braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success.
Any blind or visually impaired student in grades 1-12 who can read and write braille is eligible to participate in the Braille Challenge. All contestants are divided into five categories and tested on fundamental braille skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. Contests are proctored by volunteer Teachers of the Visually Impaired and scored locally by volunteer transcribers, based on national guidelines. Due to COVID-19 complications, the event was held remotely for 2021. The awards ceremony was live-streamed on the Missouri School for the Blind’s Facebook page at facebook.com/MSBMules.