Winner of Braille Challenge aims for Berkeley University

July 9, 2013 by  

Tiffany Zhao, 17, from Temple City has just won first prize in the Braille Challenge for the third time.

Tiffany has been competing in the challenge for the last 10 years, representing California. Her ambition is to attend the University of Berkeley and is currently a senior at Temple City High School. During the competition, which was running for the 13th year, Tiffany competed against over 1,000 students who, like her, are either visually impaired or blind. The students represent three provinces of Canada and 39 U.S. states.

According to the organizers of the Braille Challenge, the competition is similar to a spelling bee. However, Tiffany states that she appreciates the Braille Challenge as there are very few other competitions in which they could fully take part. Jin Zhao, Tiffany’s father moved the family from China in order to give his daughter a better chance at being educated. In China, children who are blind do not have a kindergarten or preschool, so do not start to receive an education until the age of seven, and even then there is only one school for blind children.

As Tiffany won first prize in the Braille Challenge, she was awarded with an iPad, a computer device which has a braille display, and $2,500. The national competition will be promoted annually in all participating states, possibly utilizing the flyer printing skills of local print companies. The American Council of the Blind’s president, Mitch Pomerantz, says that braille will always be necessary for anyone who is blind, rather than over-reliance on technology.