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APH’s 160th Anniversary Writing Contest

For 160 years, APH has held the mission of providing specialized materials, products, and services to people who are blind and visually impaired. Through research and development of braille, large print, and digital textbooks, APH has built a legacy of improving lives through literacy, promoting academic achievement and supporting successful careers for thousands of individuals with vision loss.

As part of our 160th Anniversary, we invited our customers and consumers to share the impact that APH products have had on their lives. We received 54 essays from across the United States and Canada, each falling into one of five categories: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult Consumers, and Adult Vision Professionals. Our judges were comprised of APH staff from numerous departments. Points were awarded by our judges based on criteria including: Topic, Effectiveness, Organization, Originality, Creativity and Structure. First, second, and third place winners were chosen in each of the categories.

Grades 3 through 5

Official Topic

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) provides specialized tools and materials for people who are blind and visually impaired to learn and to live independently. Write a letter to APH telling us about either

Maximum 250 words.

Winners

  1. Batya Sperling-Milner—Washington, DC
  2. Madeline Conner—Raleigh, NC
  3. Yael Garcia—Las Vegas, NV

Grades 6 through 8

Official Topic

Louis Braille, a Frenchman, invented the braille code of tactile reading and writing in 1821. He died in 1852 – six years before APH was founded in 1858. Write a letter to Louis and tell him either

Maximum 500 words.

Winners

  1. Andy Shen—San Louis Obispo, CA
  2. Melina Mendoza—Seaside, CA
  3. Ritika Khanal—Lynnwood, WA

Grades 9 through 12

Official Topic

Think about the career or vocation you would like to pursue as an adult. Write an essay about how your strengths and interests will help you in this work. What person (or people) have empowered you to succeed? What APH product(s) has best prepared you for work in this area, and what product(s) will you use to become successful in this career or vocation?

Maximum 750 words.

Winners

  1. Jack Falejcyzk—Elk Grove Village, IL
  2. Joshua Rister—Quincy, KY
  3. Gretchen Brown—Washington, IN

Adult Consumers

Official Topic

APH has celebrated many milestones since it was founded in 1858. For example: in 1883 a new building was constructed; in 1932, Standard English Braille became the only tactile reading and writing system produced by APH; in 1974, cassette tapes were introduced in the Talking Book program; and in 2003, Book Port was offered for sale. Write an essay about significant milestones in your life. What factors helped you to accomplish remarkable things and to overcome challenges? What APH product(s) have empowered you along the way?

Maximum 1,000 words.

Winners

  1. Allie Futty—Burlington, VT
  2. Tracy Spittle—Columbia, SC
  3. Lora Felty Stephens—Ashland, KY

Adult Professionals

Official Topic

Write an essay about the most creative, unique way you have used an APH product (or products). What is the product and what did it help you (or a student or adult you worked with) accomplish?

Maximum 1,000 words.

Winners

  1. Merry-Noel Chamberlain—LaVista, NE
  2. Stacy Cox—Baton Rouge, LA
  3. Paula Roten—Fleetwood, NC

If you have any questions about APH’s 160th Anniversary Writing Contest, please contact Nancy Lacewell at email hidden; JavaScript is required or Lauren Hicks at email hidden; JavaScript is required.