A combined screenshot of Alberta students who took the Braille challenge online. (Contributed image)

A combined screenshot of Alberta students who took the Braille challenge online. (Contributed image)

Two central Alberta students recognized for literacy in braille

Two central Alberta students got top marks in the province for their skills in braille.

Caden Johnson, a Grade 9 Hunting Hills High School student, won the second prize in this year’s online Alberta regional Braille Challenge, while Merrick Smith a Grade 8 student at Eckville Secondary School won third prize in this contest put on by the Braille Institute.

“I’m as proud as punch,”said Danille Hamelink, educational consultant for blind and visually impaired students in 10 central Alberta school districts.

About 35 students from across the province recently competed in the virtual contest that was won by a student from Calgary.

Caden, who was legally blind since birth, was Alberta’s braille champ for multiple years. In 2017, he even competed internationally in Los Angeles.

His mother Tera Johnson said Caden started learning braille at 2 years old. He has formally learned using the system of raised dots since kindergarten. Whatever other students glean from print material, he studies in braille, said Johnson.

She’s very pleased with her 14-year-old son’s academic success. Braille “is his only form of literacy,” she added, noting technology is making great leaps to even make braille available through computers.

Caden and Merrick expect to find out by June whether their braille challenge marks will enable them to move on to the international level of competition.

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