NOTTINGHAM, MD—The 2021 National Braille Challenge finalists have been announced, and a student from Nottingham is among the top 50 qualifiers in the nation. Eniolaoluwa Osunkoya will be competing in the national competition later this month.
The Braille Challenge®, a program of the Braille Institute, is the only academic competition for blind or visually impaired students in the United States and Canada. This two-stage contest is designed to motivate blind students to emphasize their study of braille, while rewarding their success with fun-filled, but challenging, local and national events.
Students complete preliminary testing across the country from January through March in hopes of qualifying for the top 50 spots available in the national competition and the opportunity to compete against the top blind students from across the United States and Canada.
The Maryland Regional Braille Challenge, which has been hosted by The Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland State Department of Education, for the past twelve years, was held virtually on February 6.
Enny, a 4th grade student at Chapel Hill Elementary School in Baltimore County, has won the most improved student at the Maryland Braille Challenge for two consecutive years and has also won the top scorer in the annual regional competition. Alexandra Idy, an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired from the Maryland School for the Blind, has been his vision teacher for the past three years.
According to Jacqueline Otwell, Maryland Braille Challenge Coordinator, “Despite the challenges students faced during the pandemic, their resiliency, hard work, and dedication to braille literacy was apparent in the 2021 Maryland Braille Challenge. I am so proud of all of our participants and congratulate Enny on qualifying for the nationals. I know he will make Maryland proud.”
The national competition, which is typically held in Los Angeles, California annually in June, will be held remotely again this year.
In a statement from the Braille Institute, “Since 2000, the Braille Challenge has been a celebration promoting braille literacy, advocacy, friendship, partnership and festivities. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Los Angeles continues its restrictions on large gatherings, so for the 2nd consecutive year, the Braille Challenge Finals will be a virtual experience throughout the months of June and July. We aim to capture the essence of a traditional Braille Challenge Finals experience with a remote program, continuing our goal of promoting braille literacy across North America.”