Blind Student Heads To National Braille Competition - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Blind Student Heads To National Braille Competition

A visually impaired student at Tyler's Andy Woods Elementary School is headed to a national competition. She's one of only 60 students in the U.S. and Canada to qualify.

She can type faster than her Braille teacher and she reads at the sixth grade level. Only, Kassy Cardenas is in second grade.

"What I like about Braille is all the cool signs they make," the 8-year-old said.

Cool signs that Kassy will be reading, spelling, and proofreading at top speed at the National Braille Challenge in June. And she has to be accurate, too.

"I couldn't wait to go because there would be new stuff to do and fun things to do and cool adventures and all that," she said.

"She's the kind of student that makes a teacher work very, very hard because she wants to excel at everything that she does," Elsie Rao, Kassy's Braille teacher, said. "So she's constantly presenting me with challenges and finding new ways to teach more information faster."

Elsie has been Kassy's Braille teacher since Kassy was four years old. Over the years, Elsie has taught some 50 visually impaired students, and only Kassy has made it to the national competition.

But she won't be going alone. Her teacher, mother, and sister will go with her to Los Angeles.

I asked Kassy if they'll get to watch her compete. And she typed me her answer on her Braille writer -- a special typewriter for Braille.

"Yes, they do get to watch me, except they will be in a different room," Kassy said.

Kassy says her goal is to win first place because she likes the title and the prizes. The winner gets a new Braille computer and a $500 savings bond. Kassy says, if she wins, she'll save the money for college so she can become a lawyer.

Julie Tam, reporting.


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