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2024 KY Braille Challenge Promotes Braille Literacy

Three students wearing medals and holding white envelopes smile as they stand in front of a Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge banner, which is flanked by colorful balloons on both sides.

Imagine being one of the select few to participate in a contest that assesses your knowledge of a literacy method your sighted peers think is a secret code. The Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind, held each year in North America for students who are blind or low vision. Testing their braille reading and writing abilities, the competition also spreads awareness and promotes braille literacy, so that all students can take pride in the unique system that brings language to their fingertips. On February 22, 2024, 20 students from across the state of Kentucky accepted the challenge, gathering at the Kentucky School for the Blind for the preliminary round of this exciting competition.

What is the Braille Challenge?

Created by the Braille Institute in the year 2000 to encourage participants to practice their braille literacy skills, the Braille Challenge is an academic competition for students grades 1 – 12 who are blind or low vision who can read and write braille. Challengers are broken down into five age groups: Apprentice (Grades 1-2), Freshmen (Grades 3-4), Sophomore (Grades 5-6), Junior Varsity (Grades 7-9), and Varsity (Grades 10-12). Students are tested on fundamental braille skills, including reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. All students from across the United States, Canada, and UK can compete in the preliminary round, held annually from January to mid-March. Then, the top 50 students (10 in each category) with the highest scores compete in the two-day final round held in Los Angeles, California.

The 2024 KY Braille Challenge

This year, the preliminary Braille Challenge rounds will be held from January 1, 2024 – March 18th, 2024. Recently, students who are blind and low vision competed at an all-day regional round at the Kentucky School for the Blind. Once they arrived, students and volunteers received fun t-shirts to wear during the competition. This year’s theme was ‘Honeybees.’ Afterward, students arrived for the opening ceremonies, where they pledged the Braille Challenge oath to do their best. Two student tests were proctored in the morning, followed by two more after lunch. Once the scorers finished grading the tests, it was time for the awards ceremony. First place winners in each category received $100 in cash, and the second and third place winners were each awarded $50 and $25 Walmart gift cards.

 

Congratulations to the following winners:

 Apprentice

1st Place: Kaily A.

2nd Place: Kylie R.

3rd Place: Tyler C.

Freshman

1st Place: Bradley W.

2nd Place: Josiah S.

3rd Place: Ella M.

Sophomore

1st Place: Krishna M.

2nd Place: Mamoon S.

Jr. Varsity

1st Place: Addyson C.

2nd Place: Joshua L.

3rd Place: MaKenna H.

Varsity

1st Place: Braeden R.

2nd Place: Jenna C.

3rd Place: Macy S.

High Score Spelling (Apprentice/Freshman combined): Kylie R.

High Score Reading Comprehension: Tie between Braeden R. and Jenna C.

 

We wish these challengers the best as they wait to see if they qualify for the final round.

Watch this WHAS11 clip to see the students in action, and find a regional competition in your state.

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