Salome Cummins Earns Two First Place Awards at National Braille Challenge

Posted on 08/20/2021
Salome Cummins holds her certificate from the Superintendent

Salome Cummins, a fifth grader at Warren Elementary School, began summer break this year in the most fitting way - practicing her piano skills, building a robot named Charlie at Robotics camp, and plunging into the world of Harry Potter, her favorite book series. Amidst a busy summer, Salome also earned two first place awards at the National Braille Challenge.

The annual competition, coordinated by the Braille Institute in California, provides an opportunity for students who are blind or visually impaired to participate in a variety of different braille competitions, including reading comprehension, proofreading, spelling, and more.

Salome Cummins stands with her family and her Vision teachers Kevin Hollinger and Lexi TheisSalome, who has participated in the past four National Braille Challenges, has formed an impressive winning streak over the years. In 2019, she earned first place overall for the Apprentice level (the second and third grade age group) followed by a second-place win in 2020 for the Freshman level (the fourth and fifth grade age group). This year, she surpassed her previous achievements by earning first place in the overall competition for Freshman, as well as the spelling competition for her age group.

Kevin Hollinger, who served as Salome’s teacher for the past two years in the District Vision Program, attributes the fifth grader’s ongoing success to her parents’ commitment and encouragement toward their daughter’s literacy.

“They have provided a rich, immersive experience with books and creative writing,” said Hollinger.

It is because of their example that Salome has fallen in love with literature and has even started writing her own stories, as well. She is currently working on the sequel to her 84-page book based on the Harry Potter series.

“We’re so proud of her and all of her dedication. It’s so much fun to see her hard work pay off and to be able to celebrate with her,” shared Salome’s mother, Ann Cummins. The Braille Challenge is one of many reasons her parents can be proud of her. Salome is often described as curious, imaginative, full of energy, and kind. She is always learning and always has something to say about everything.

“She challenged me daily as an educator,” said Hollinger. “It is evident that there is an incredible plan for her life, a future, and a hope!” When asked what she wanted to do when she grows up, Salome shared that she wants to be a teacher for those with visual impairments, as well as a mother. No matter where life takes her, though, she will embrace every opportunity with a book in hand – most likely about Harry Potter.

To learn more about Salome’s story, take a look at the District video highlighting the Vision Program and its students.

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