Legally blind students showcase talents in braille challenge

Feb 18, 2016 | By Erica Coghills |

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -Dozens of legally blind students showcased their unique talents Thursday at the sixth Kentucky Braille Challenge.

The challenge was held at the Kentucky School for the Blind. The braille challenge is the only national reading and writing contest in braille for legally blind students between the ages of 6 and 19.

Forty students turned out for the competition on Thursday and made a grand entrance at the Kentucky School for the Blind. They were met with noise makers and applause.

The braille challenge gives legally blind students a chance to show-off their smarts.

The competition includes braille writing speed and accuracy, reading speed and comprehension, spelling, proofreading and interpreting tactile graphics. The prizes include gift cards, cash and technology that could make a huge impact on these students’ lives One of the items is called a victor stream and carries a price tag of about $5,000.

Sophomore Shane Lowe has been competing in the braille challenge for eight years. This year, he’s vying for a title that bears some benefits.

“Any of those ones that come with cash, I’m down with,” Lowe said. While he has a competitive spirit, it’s mainly about having fun. “It is just a fun day in general. You get to meet people from state that come for the competition,” Lowe said.

The top scorers will then have a chance to travel to Los Angeles, California, in June for the national competition. As part of the competition, the students are immersed in reading and writing braille for three hours.