COVINGTON — Three Newton County School System students recently brought home awards from the Georgia Regional Braille Challenge held at the Georgia Academy for the Blind.
Lucas Montalvo, a fourth-grade student at South Salem Elementary School, won first place honors in the freshman category. He has earned an award every year he has participated in the Braille Challenge.
Liberty Middle School seventh-grade student Ja’von Harris earned the second place award in the sophomore category this year. He also won an award at the Braille Challenge last school year.
Rounding out the NCSS group of winners, Indian Creek Middle School sixth-grade student Chad McDaniel, took home the third place award in the Apprentice Category.
The Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind in North America for students who are blind or visually impaired. Braille Institute developed the Braille Challenge to motivate students to practice and hone their braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success.
Any blind or visually impaired student in grades one through 12 who can read and write Braille is eligible to participate in the Braille Challenge. Contestants are divided into five categories and tested on fundamental braille skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs.
“Our students are a force to be reckoned with at the Braille Challenge,” said Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent. “This marks at least three years in a row that NCSS students have brought home awards from the Regional Braille Challenge. Needless to say, I am extremely proud of Lucas, Ja’von and Chad. They represented their schools and our school system extremely well. Lucas, Ja’von and Chad have worked very hard on their Braille literacy skills, and they’ll only get better with time. With that said, I have great expectations that we will see their names on the Braille Challenge’s list of champions for several years to come.”