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Competitors win medals at Oklahoma School for Blind’s regional Braille Challenge®

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

MUSKOGEE, Okla. –– Thirty-three Oklahoma students competed at Oklahoma School for the Blind  for medals and prizes in the regional Braille Challenge® competition sponsored by Braille Institute of America in the United States and Canada.

The basic braille unit is an arrangement of six raised dots, two across and three down, that resembles the number six domino. Each dot or combination of dots represents letters of the print alphabet. Braille dots are designed to be read with the fingertips, but can be written by hand, on computers or portable electronic note takers.

“Braille literacy is essential to future successes and employment,” Faye Miller, Oklahoma School for the Blind’s orientation and mobility specialist, said. “The Oklahoma Braille Challenge motivates contestants to practice their braille skills because they want to win medals and improve their performances from last year.”

Miller has coordinated the annual academic competition hosted by OSB for 22 years.

“Contestants also are building a community with other people who read and write braille as they celebrate their braille skills and make lasting memories,” she said.

The regional Braille Challenge® award winners are:

Apprentice Transition Middle School/High School

Gold Medal: Kesslee Travis, Muskogee

Silver Medal: Genevieve Owens, Claremore

Bronze Medal: Jaden Brown, Broken Arrow


Gold Medal: Neal Summerlin, Watts

Silver Medal: Khup Tuang, Tulsa

Bronze Medal: Nina Cutler, Cushing

Freshman Transition Middle School 

Gold Medal: Austyn Lawler, Walters

Silver Medal: Avery Dollar, Muskogee

Bronze Medal: Audree (Elli) Montgomery, Shady Point

Freshman Transition Grade 9

Gold Medal: Piper Conner, Perkins

Silver Medal: Nathaniel Hiatt, Park Hill

Bronze Medal: Jaylee Burnside, Muskogee

Freshman Transition Grades 10-11

Gold Medal: Erikson Lopez, Owasso

Silver Medal: Maria Komers, Noble

Bronze Medal: Angel Cozort, Ketchum


Gold Medal: Jayda Magers, Ponca City

Silver Medal: Kaos Davis, Alva

Bronze Medal: Justus Hoover, Alva

Sophomore Transition Middle School/High School

Gold Medal: Kolten Pennington, Roff

Silver Medal: Lilith Pedersen, Anadarko

Bronze Medal: Delilah Howell, Westville


Gold Medal: Kye Shrum, Perry

Silver Medal: Kennedy Sullivan, Morris

Bronze Medal: Gabriella Henderson, Muskogee

Junior Varsity

Gold Medal: Stephanie Glynn, Tulsa


Gold Medal: Anna Suarez, Sand Springs

Contestants in the apprentice, freshman, and transition categories were tested on spelling, reading comprehension and proofreading.  

Sophomore, junior varsity and varsity contestants were scored on charts and graphs, reading comprehension and proofreading. They also listened and transcribed passages into braille.

OSB graduates, retired OSB teachers, teachers of visually impaired and other braille experts proctored and scored tests. Long-time supporters Sherry Holder and Jeanne Meyer have volunteered every year at OSB’s Braille Challenge for 22 years.

The Braille Institute will invite the top 50 finalists from the U.S. and Canada to compete in the National Braille Challenge® in Los Angeles in June. Oklahoma competitors have advanced to the national finals 28 times since 2003.

“We are proud to host the annual Braille Challenge®,” OSB Superintendent Rita Echelle said. “This challenging competition gives our OSB students and those attending other schools the chance to demonstrate and improve their braille competency skills.”

Every competitor selected a prize this year and received Braille Challenge® t-shirts donated by Frank Dirksen. Students also picked up goodie bags with items purchased with donations.

Braille Challenge® contestants will receive brailed certificates and general performance feedback to help improve their skills.

Braille Challenge sponsors are Oklahoma School for the Blind, Braille Institute, Bud Holder and George Isbell memorial donations, Frank Dirksen, Jeri’s House, Inc., Liberty Braille, Nano Pac, NewView Oklahoma and Oklahoma Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired.

Sponsors include OSU High Obesity Program, Pre-Employment Transition Services at OU National Center for Disability Education and Training, Ruth Kelly Studios, Transcribing Mariners and Tulsa Downtown Lions Club.

OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. For more information, phone 877-229-7136 toll free or visit

Oklahoma School for the Blind offers free comprehensive academic, extracurricular and outreach programs to blind or visually impaired students who live on campus four days each week, commute from home or attend summer school programs. Academic programs for OSB students meet state-mandated education requirements. Specialized instruction includes Braille, orientation and mobility training, optimum use of low-vision adaptive equipment, assistive technology graphic skills not readily available at other public schools in Oklahoma. Students may participate in sports, leadership programs and award-winning OSB Jazz Band. OSB provides free evaluations and outreach services to students attending local public schools, their families and educators. OSB had a 100% graduation rate in 2022-2023.


Four of the medal-winners at Oklahoma School for the Blind’s regional Braille Challenge® are from Muskogee: (clockwise from top left) Kesslee Travis, Avery Dollar, Gabriella Henderson and Jaylee Burnside.

For more information

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director

Cell: 405-203-1318