Blind Grand Lake student to compete in national Braille Challenge for third time

Posted: May 20, 2015 By Monica Grimaldo | WVUE New Orleans

GRAND LAKE, LA (KPLC) – He’s done it before and he’s been chosen to do it again. Twelve-year-old Donavan Chesson was chosen as one of the top 12 braille students in the U.S. and Canada for the 3rd time this year, joining 59 visually impaired students.

“Once he found out he was going to Los Angeles, he walked in and said ‘I have breaking news!'”, said Grand Lake gifted enrichment teacher Christine Selman, “[He said] I made it and I’m going to Los Angeles. So, we were all very excited for him.”
The Braille Challenge, sponsored by the Braille Institute, puts visually impaired students from all over the U.S. and Canada against each other to test their speed, accuracy, and reading comprehension. Chesson first competed in the challenge in 2011 followed by another opportunity in 2015. Though he hasn’t won a challenge yet, he hopes to bring home the big prize this year.

“I just like the way it feels win,” said Chesson. “It’s okay to lose either way. I don’t have to win every one of them but, I just like the way it feels. I’m going over there to represent this school, Grand Lake High School, Grand Lake Community church, Grand Lake itself and the state of Louisiana.”

The competition is set for June 20th. Chesson’s family and friends are raising money to help pay for travel expenses and have set up a GoFundMe account where he’s already raised more than $600.