Claremore Second-Grader Wins Braille Challenge at Oklahoma School for the Blind
April 16, 2017 | claremoreprogress.com | By Tom Fink
Oklahoma School for the Blind graduate Laquana Sango congratulates Claremore second grader Hunter Kelley who won the overall apprentice and freshman categories in the regional Braille Challenge.
Claremore youth Hunter Kelley’s trophy case got a little bit fuller recently as he was awarded a gold medal in his category in the Braille Challenge competition at the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee.
Kelley, a second-grader at the Oklahoma School for the Blind, was named the overall winner in both the freshman and apprentice categories.
“All Braille Challenge competitors test their skills in the academic contest, which measures students’ proficiency in Braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading and tactile graphics,” explained Jody Harlan, communications director, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. “Hunter excelled at the challenge, proving himself to be exemplary and finishing at the top of his categories.”
All Braille Challenge competitors test their skills in the academic contest, which measures students’ proficiency in Braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading and tactile graphics.
Contests are proctored by volunteer teachers for visually impaired students and scored locally by volunteer transcribers according to our national guidelines. Each contestant will receive a brailled certificate of appreciation and general performance feedback, which will be sent to families and educators in May.
The Braille Institute will invite 50 finalists to compete in the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles this summer.
Hunter is the son of Kimberly Politte of Claremore, who was inspired by Hunter to become the founder of the 918 Rocks! Facebook group, which paints small rocks which are then hidden in spots all around the 918 area code — an idea borrowed from a similar group in the Memphis area, where Hunter would go for his six-month check-ups.
Hunter has been without sight for most of his life.
When he was 17 months old, Hunter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer, which, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body.
After chemotherapy and radiation failed to eradicate the cancer, Hunter’s parents made the difficult choice to remove Hunter’s left eye in December 2010, followed by his right eye a month later.
Prosthetic eyes were then crafted to look like Hunter’s eyes, and he regularly commutes from Claremore to the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee.
Prize sponsors for Oklahoma School for the Blind’s Braille Challenge are Braille Institute, Humanware, Seedlings and National Braille Press. Regional sponsors are the Oklahoma School for the Blind, Muskogee County Lions Club, Chelsea Lions Club, Sapulpa Lions Club, Nano Pac, NewView Oklahoma, Frank Dirksen, Oklahoma Council of the Blind, Oklahoma Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired, Liberty Braille and Ruth Kelly Studios.
Estimates indicate that approximately 18,600 Oklahomans are legally blind, while more than 128,000 have vision difficulties, according to 2015 U.S. Census data.
Oklahoma School for the Blind is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
For more information about the Oklahoma School for the Blind, phone 877-229-7136 toll free or visit http://osb.k12.ok.us/.