A Grade 10 student at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School has won a first-place prize in the Braille Creative Writing Contest sponsored by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
Chris Barclay captured top honours in the Grade 7, 8, 9 Poem category. He received his award at the CNIB Braille Conference in Toronto Oct. 26, where he had an opportunity to read his winning entry.
“We are proud of Chris Barclay for his outstanding achievement,” said Rainbow District School Board chair Doreen Dewar said.
“We are delighted that one of our students has been recognized on the national level. We commend the CNIB for promoting literacy in a creative way.”
For the competition, Barclay submitted a poem that he wrote for his Grade 9 English class. Entitled "The Sailboat," the poem was in the shape of a sailboat. The poem was quite difficult to line up and centre using a Perkins manual brailler and two sheets of braille paper.
In this annual contest, the CNIB invites students across Canada to let their fingers tell the story. The competition is open to primary and secondary students who are blind or partially sighted. Students can submit short stories or poems. Entries must be in braille.
Prizes are awarded in each category at four grade levels: Grades 1 to 3, Grades 4 to 6, Grades 7 to 9 and Grades 10 to 12. Braille accuracy and creativity are given equal weighting.
For children with vision loss, being able to read and write braille is the key to literacy, successful employment, and independence. The Canadian Braille Literacy Foundation provides financial assistance for the contest.