Janie Brunson, who recently graduated from Carmel High, scored 3rd place in her division at The National Braille Challenge -- the only national academic competition for blind students in the country. She competed against 12 other students from across the country in the Varsity Division.
Janie is an avid braille reader and an outstanding student who is not letting vision loss slow her down. When she’s not busy reading her favorite books in braille, Janie enjoys teaching braille to elementary aged children and enjoys reading and writing. She is also a very talented singer. Her favorite TV series is Game of Thrones on HBO.
Each category of The National Braille Challenge was designed to test participants' braille skills in several areas—reading comprehension, braille spelling, chart and graph reading, proofreading and braille speed and accuracy—all of which blind students need to master in order to keep up with their sighted peers. The first- through third-place winners in each age group received awards ranging in value from $250 for the youngest group to $2500 for the oldest. In addition to these prizes, Freedom Scientific Corporation donated the latest adaptive equipment for the winners—the Focus 40 Blue—an adaptive computer device with a refreshable braille display.
This year's competition featured a diverse group of high achievers from across the country. Janie was chosen to represent the state of California at this year's competition from amongst more than 1000 blind students—representing 39 states and three Canadian provinces— at a preliminary round which are held at Regional Braille Challenge events across the country.
And now, Janie is heading to UCLA to start her undergraduate degree. Way to go, Janie! You make us proud.
Here's Janie and her parents pictured earlier in the year at the Regional Braille Challenge.