It’s time for a celebration as Oklahoma’s visually impared students crushed their competition in the Cane Quest, a national program of the Braille Institute of America. The ninth Oklahoma Regional Cane Quest competition earned four Oklahoma City School for the Blind students both gold and silver medals while competing against 7th-12th graders last month. Working with Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, OSB students partake in an academic program that focuses on meeting state-mandated educational requirements while learning all about technology and Braille.
“Cane Quest is an excellent opportunity for our students to demonstrate their cane usage skills and challenge themselves while having fun in the process,” OSB Superintendent Rita Echelle said. “The students’ skills and confidence increase so much as they prepare for and compete every year, plus everyone enjoys winning and being recognized for their success.”
As all OSB students competed against 29 other cane users across the state, Julio Valdez and Ben Middleton earned gold, Elbin Carrillo snagged a silver medal and Quante Sellers won the Top Scouts award.
“It’s always a thrill to watch Oklahoma School for the Blind students compete in Cane Quest,” said Jody Harlan, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services Communications Director. “Two friends from Oklahoma City, Julio Valdez and Elbin Carrillo, are always very competitive and have taken turns earning the gold medal awards since 2018. This year, Julio earned the gold medal and Elbin earned a silver medal, but both benefited by learning cane travel skills that lead to independence and self-sufficiency.”
To earn a score in the Cane Quest, competitors are tested on their ability to follow verbal directions, utilize cane skills and showcase travelling techniques.
“The Cane Quest competitors worked hard and showed their competitiveness and, of course, they especially loved getting prizes and medals,” said Faye Miller, OSB Orientation, Mobility Specialist and Regional Cane Quest coordinator.
The Oklahoma School for the Blind staff also teaches summer school courses to lead students toward success, as the institution is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. With four OKC students earning top medals in this year’s Cane Quest, brilliance isn’t hard to find at OSB.
For more information, visit http://osb.k12.ok.us/.