COLUMBUS (May 26, 2023) – An Ohio teenager will represent the state in the 2023 Braille Challenge Finals – a global competition for blind and visually impaired (BVI) youth in grades 1-12. MaKenzie Love, 15, qualified after placing in a statewide competition.
Love, of Commercial Point in Pickaway County, was recently recognized during an awards ceremony held at the Ohio State School for the Blind in Columbus. She was the Varsity Division winner at the Ohio Regional Braille Challenge hosted by Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired at the Cincinnati Museum Center on February 23. Love will advance to the Braille Institute’s Braille Challenge Finals taking place June 23-25 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The annual competition celebrates BVI students in braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading and tactile charts and graphs.
“I like competing in the Braille Challenge because it enhances my braille literacy skills,” said Love. “I have improved my reading and writing when practicing for it. It’s extremely rewarding to know my hard work has paid off.”
Love, who was born blind, is one of 50 finalists out of more than 800 youth across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Finalists are placed into five categories based on their age including: Apprentice (grades 1-2), Freshman (grades 3-4), Sophomore (grades 5-6), Junior Varsity (grades 7-9) and Varsity (grades 10-12).
The top 10 highest scores in each category qualified for the finals following the regional competitions that took place all around North America and the U.K. earlier in 2023.
Love has competed in the Ohio Regional Braille Challenge for the past six years. This marks the second time she has advanced to the Braille Challenge Finals.
“It’s exciting to have a participant from our local Braille Challenge who can display her talents at a global level,” said Chris Faust, Clovernook Center President & CEO. “We are so proud of her!”
Developed in 2000, the Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind in North America and the U.K. for students who are blind or visually impaired. To learn more visit: brailleinstitute.org/braille-challenge.