Blind JCPS third grader wins National Braille Challenge in Los A - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Blind JCPS third grader wins National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles

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VALLEY STATION, Ky. (WDRB) -- A JCPS third grader now holds a national title after beating out 1,200 students from around the country.

Last weekend, Carmynn Blakeley won the National Braille Championship in Los Angeles after winning the regional championship last month. Carmynn was born blind with Septo Optic Dysplasia and learned to read braille only three years ago.

The Breckinridge/Franklin Elementary student won in the “apprentice” category, which included spelling, reading comprehension and proof-reading.

“It’s just mind-blowing," said Rebecca Brown, Carmynn’s mother. "It's really the best description, because she is 8-years-old and she started learning braille just a few years ago."

This is the first time a JCPS student has advanced to the national finals, let alone win. She took home a trophy, an iPad, and a refreshable braille display which translates e-books to braille with the help of a specialized keyboard.

“It’s like reading 5,456 little buttons,” Carmynn said, “It feels nice on my soft little hands.”

It was more than just a competition for Carmynn. On the trip, she experienced her first plane ride and her first time to Disneyland, where the theme park specially accommodated her family and other blind students at the competition.

“Braille has really opened a new world for her, because she can go and use her imagination and she is very imaginative,” Brown said.

That imagination is what Carmynn is using to set up her future career plans. 

“I want to be a singer on Mondays, pediatrician on Tuesdays, pizza-maker at Pizza Hut on Wednesdays, author on Thursdays, then snooze on Fridays,” she said.

“I think a lot of people think if your child has a disability they might be limited, and I think that is completely false," Brown said. "There is just no limitations to her success."

 Carmynn plans on defending her title at next year’s competition.

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