MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Three Oklahoma School for the Blind champions will represent the state in the national Braille Challenge® competition in Los Angeles this summer.
The finalists are: Katelynn Zampella, Richelle Zampella, both from Muskogee, and Hunter Kelley from Claremore.
The OSB students were selected based on their scores in the Oklahoma Regional Braille Challenge® held at OSB in March. Braille students in grades one through 12 participated at the regional level.
Braille Challenge® is a national program sponsored by the Braille Institute, a nonprofit organization that eliminates barriers caused by blindness and severe sight loss. The Braille Institute is celebrating its 100th Year of free service this year.
Katelynn Zampella, now an OSB seventh-grader, previously competed four times at the national level between 2015 and 2018.
She earned a first place award in the junior varsity category during the Oklahoma Regional Braille Challenge regional contest this year.
OSB senior Richelle Zampella has participated six times in the national competition between 2012 and 2018. She placed 2nd in the sophomore category in 2013, 1st in the junior varsity category in 2015 and 2nd in the junior varsity category in 2016. She placed 2nd in the varsity category and won the Harley Fetterman Award of Excellence for the overall highest score in the charts and graphs area of competition in 2017.
In addition to earning a gold medal in varsity category in the regional competition in Oklahoma this year, she earned the highest overall score in the sophomore, junior varsity and varsity categories for grades seven through 12.
Fourth-grader Hunter Kelley from Claremore will be going to the national Braille Challenge® for the second time. He previously earned 2nd place in the apprentice category at the national level.
Kelley won a gold medal and the highest overall score in the apprentice and freshman categories in the 2019 regional contest in Oklahoma.
The Braille Challenge® measures students’ proficiency in braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading and tactile graphics.
Oklahoma School for the Blind is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
OSB is the statewide resource for the education of blind and visually impaired students. Residential and commuter students meet all state-mandated education requirements and receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility, optimum use of low vision, adaptive equipment technology and tactile graphic skills that are not available at many public schools in the state. OSB provides free evaluations, consultations and outreach services for students attending local public schools, their families and local school educators.
For more information, phone 877-229-7136 toll free or visit http://osb.k12.ok.us/.