On Saturday, February 28th, The Carroll Center hosted its 9th Annual Northeast Regional Braille Literacy Celebration and Qualifying Event for the National Braille Challenge. Thirty students from the six New England states participated in this all-day event, along with 100 parents, teachers, volunteers and special guests.
The Carroll Center was the first organization to develop a regional Challenge in conjunction with the Braille Institute of America, and has since served as a model for the creation of an additional 30 regional contests being held this year throughout the US and Canada. A total of almost 600 students will be participating this winter, the top 60 of whom will be invited to compete in the final Braille Challenge competition in Los Angeles on Saturday June 20th, 2009.
This year’s event featured a special program for parents during the student testing, a panel discussion on the Importance of the Expanded Core Curriculum. Moderated by Educational Services teacher Ms. Janet Ulwick-Sacca, panelists included Dr. Richard Jackson, parents Rob and Kelly Scouler and college students Tanya Milojevic and Albano Berberi, both of whom are alumni of the Braille Challange and the Carroll Center.
The afternoon Awards Ceremony opened with the introduction of Ms. Ulwick-Sacca as the recipient of the AER Northeast Chapter Award for Excellence in Educational Services for Children, which was presented in Stowe VT last November. In addition to being an itinerant teacher for students with visual impairments in their local schools, Ms Ulwick-Sacca is a also mentor teacher for other professionals and a curriculum coordinator for the CarrollKids Summer Enrichment program.
The first recipient of the CarrollKids Award for the Advancement of Student Literacy was then presented to Ms Paula Miller Bress, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments in the Boston Public Schools.
The day concluded with the introduction of each participating student, and the presentation of their individual Certificates of Participation and prizes. Congratulations to ALL students for their OUTSTANDING performances! The highest scorers in each of the five age categories included:
- Emma Tubberville – Grade 2
- John Frampton – Grade 4
- Mia Correira – Grade 4
- Daisy Russell – Grade 6
- Michael Sciabarrasi – Grade 6
- Precious Perez – Grade 5
- Marisa Parker – Grade 8
- Michael Rouillard – Grade 7
- Minh Tam-Ha – Grade 9
- Joshua Pearson – Grade 10
- Alexandra Krauth – Grade 12
- Carey Scouler – Grade 12
The Carroll Center thanks the following donors for their support of this very special event:
- Regional sponsors: American Council of the Blind/Baystate Chapter
- Association of Massachusetts Educators of Students with Visual Impairments
- Cabot’s Ice Cream
- The Mulkern Family
- National Braille Press
- Roger Williams Park Zoo
- Sunny Delight Beverages
- Freedom Scientific
- Independent Living Aids
- The National Federation of the Blind
- Perkins Products
We are especially grateful to the Braille Institute of America for their ongoing collaboration with the Carroll Center in promoting Braille Literacy and for providing reading materials in Braille for students with visual impairments.