Cobb student is among top winners in National Braille Challenge

Christopher Abel of Acworth won first place in the sophomore category at the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles on June 20-21.

One of 60 finalists from 29 states and British Columbia, Christopher was among more than 1,100 students participating in 46 regional Braille Challenge events before his selection as a finalist.

A rising seventh grader from Palmer Middle School in Kennesaw, Christopher has been reading braille for nine years and this year is his sixth to participate in the Braille Challenge.

Christopher is a third-degree black belt in ATA Taekwondo Karate and a white belt in Jiu Jitsu.

He also plays the trumpet in his school band and credits his twin sister Nicole as his inspiration and with much of his success.

When he grows up, Christopher says he wants to be an astronaut, exploring the moon and Mars.

The preliminary round of the Braille Challenge is open to students of all skills levels; but the top-scoring 60 contestants nationally were invited to Los Angeles in June for a final round, including two days of competition and companionship.

Braille Challenge academic contest categories include reading comprehension, braille speed and accuracy, proofreading, spelling and reading tactile charts and graphs.

The Braille Challenge is a two-stage contest motivating blind students to emphasize their study of braille while rewarding their success with fun-filled, but challenging, local and national events.

Any visually impaired student, who reads braille, is eligible to participate in the preliminary Braille Challenge contest events which were held from January through the end of March throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Contests are proctored by volunteer teachers for visually impaired students and scored locally according to the national guidelines of the Braille Challenge by volunteer transcribers.

Each contestant receives a brailled certificate of appreciation and general feedback on their performance which was sent to families and educators in May.