Congratulations to Savannah Lindberg of St. Augustine who placed third in the nation for the Sophomore group during the 2018 Braille Challenge Finals! She and Addison Burgess of Orlando were among 50 blind and visually impaired students from across the country. Both girls traveled to Los Angeles, CA with their families to attend the competition, held June 15-16, 2018 at the University of Southern California.
Currently in the sixth grade at FSDB, Savannah Lindberg began learning braille when she first enrolled as a kindergarten student. She received honors for her outstanding spelling skills at the 2014 Braille Challenge Finals. Addison Burgess is in her first year at FSDB as a sixth-grade student; she also competed in the 2014 Braille Challenge Finals.
The Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind in North America for students who are blind or visually impaired. The Braille Institute developed the Braille Challenge to motivate students to practice and hone their braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success.
Any blind or visually impaired student in grades 1-12 who can read and write braille is eligible to participate in the Braille Challenge. Contestants are divided into five categories and tested on fundamental braille skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. Competitions are proctored by volunteer teachers of the visually impaired and scored locally by volunteer transcribers, based on national guidelines.
All students can compete in the preliminary Braille Challenge events, which are held from January through the end of March throughout the United States and Canada, but only the top 50 students (10 in each of the five categories) with the highest scores are invited to Los Angeles for the final round – two days of competition, camaraderie, and enjoyment.
Braille is the primary learning mode for Savannah Lindberg and Addison Burgess, who enjoy reading on a daily basis. They each reached 2,000 reading steps this past year (each step equals 15 minutes) which translates to about 500 hours – they also achieved outstanding Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) English/Language Arts scores.
FSDB Principal Carol Bogue said, “We are very proud of Savannah, Addison, and all of our students who participated in 2018 Braille Challenge events. The importance of braille literacy cannot be overstated; their hard work and achievements are a wonderful example for their peers.”