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Westford Boy Wins Braille Challenge Competition

Alan Quan won first place in the apprentice age category at the 14th Annual NE Regional Braille Challenge reading, writing and spelling contest. Courtesy
Alan Quan won first place in the apprentice age category at the 14th Annual NE Regional Braille Challenge reading, writing and spelling contest. Courtesy

Alan Quan of Westford won first place in the apprentice age category at the 14th Annual NE Regional Braille Challenge reading, writing and spelling contest held on March 8, at the Carroll Center for the Blind.

Alan, 9, a 2nd grade student, was one of 27 students from across the northeast who participated this past weekend in The Braille Challenge at the Carroll Center, an education and rehabilitation facility which provides blind and visually-impaired people of all ages with the skills they need to live, learn and work independently.  More than 45 volunteers, including some family members and former students, along with a number of Carroll Center teachers proctored and scored the tests. Awards were presented to the top scorers in each age group at the end of the daylong event. 

The Braille Challenge, which is celebrating its 14th anniversary, was developed by the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles in 2001. The challenge is a national event, with 43 regionals and more than 1600 students participating throughout the United States and Canada.  The Carroll Center for the Blind was the first organization in the United States to partner with the Braille Institute to create a regional Challenge.  According to Dr. Karen Ross, director of education services at the Carroll Center for the Blind, the annual event “is a wonderful way to motivate blind and visually-impaired students to take pride in their literacy skills.”

At the Carroll Center, students from grades 2 through 11 were tested on their skills in reading comprehension, Braille speed and accuracy, proofreading, spelling and reading tactile charts and graphs. Sixty of the top-scoring students from the entire pool of 1600 participants will be invited to the highly competitive National Braille Challenge Finals in Los Angeles in June.

“Each year the students look forward to this extraordinary event at the Carroll Center,” Dr. Ross explained. “We use our time together to celebrate the hard work these young people accomplish on a daily basis in order to achieve their potential in the classroom and community.  They cherish the friendships they make here and look forward to being reunited every winter for this family friendly competition. It’s a day filled with special memories for everyone ... students, families, teachers, staff, donors and volunteers alike.”

For more information about the Carroll Center and the 14th annual NE Regional Braille Challenge, please contact Dr. Karen Ross at Karen.Ross@carroll.org. 

Submitted by The Carroll Center for the Blind. 

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