CLAREMORE, Okla. — “It gives me butterflies in my stomach whenever I’m trying to remember all that I’ve learned.”
Although the competition makes him nervous, Hunter Kelley is making a name for himself in the Braille Challenge Finals – a four-part competition for kids in 1st through 12th grade who are visually impaired. There’s Speed & Accuracy, Proofreading, Reading Comprehension, and Charts & Graphs, which Kelley says is his favorite category but not his best.
“I think I’m best at reading comprehension,” Kelley said. “Because I read really fast.”
More than 1,000 kids across the U.S. and Canada compete in regionals with the best of the best usually meeting in Los Angeles. But because of Covid-19, it was a virtual competition this year. Kelley’s regional director said competition comes naturally for this Claremore student at the Oklahoma School For The Blind.
“He’s an avid reader and he loves Braille,” said Faye Miller, Orientation & Mobility Specialist at the Oklahoma School For The Blind. “He’s always curious about learning new things.”
Miller is proud Kelley competed and succeeded in Nationals for the past three years.
“For Hunter to be so competitive and to want to be first in our regional event every year since he started doing this competition is wonderful,” Miller said.
“It’s really exciting to be able to participate in this massive competition against so many different people,” Kelley said.