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SW student to compete in national braille competition

A Southwestern Elementary School student will be heading to California this weekend after she earned the opportunity to compete in the 2019 Braille Challenge.

Emma Stamper, who just completed first grade, will be competing in the 18th annual national finals Friday and Saturday at the University of Southern California.

Children from all grade levels up through high school competed in preliminary rounds throughout the United States and Canada this year for a chance to advance to the national finals. The top 10 students who competed in five categories – reading comprehension, braille spelling, chart and graph reading, proofreading and braille speed and accuracy – advanced out of each state.

Stamper appeared at the June school board meeting to be recognized for her accomplishment.

“We are so proud of you,” Southwestern Consolidated Schools superintendent Dr. Paula Maurer told her. “You can do something that none of us can do.”

The Braille Challenge is sponsored by the Braille Institute. Its purpose is to “motivate students who are blind or visually impaired to emphasize their study of braille while rewarding their success with fun-filled, challenging local and national events,” according to a press release.

Eligibility to compete is limited to students who are blind or visually impaired. They must be capable of reading and writing braille.

“Spartan Nation is extremely proud, but not surprised, by Emma being selected as a finalist for the 2019 Braille Challenge by the Braille Institute,” Southwestern Elementary School principal Josh Edwards said in the press release. “To have Emma represent our Southwestern community nationally is a true testament to her hard work.”

Stamper told the board she prepared by working on her summer packet and practicing the words by spelling.

Maurer asked her if her brothers would be able to attend as well.

“I don’t think so because if my brothers go, it would be tons of money,” she said.

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