BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Behind a set of Braille writers at the Maryland School for the Blind sit 12-year-old Meredith Day and 15-year-old Sujan Dhakal. Both born blind, their talents are obvious for everyone to see.
Their reading and writing skills are of elite status, leading 50 qualifiers for the National Braille challenge this July. Don’t take their youth lightly. It’s championship or bust with an even deeper passion.
“There’s reading, writing, a little bit of math so it helps me learn and it’s fun too,” Day said, smiling behind her face mask.
“Politics, history, current events, past events, future events, whatever,” Dhakal added. “I like knowing things because I want to do something with it. I want to Not make the world a better place, but make a difference.”
Both have competed nationally more than once before. The event is usually held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. This year, It’s remote due to COVID-19.
Jackie Otwell is the Braille Challenge Coordinator.
“The families can have the test proctored by a certified teacher at a location appropriate, and then those results after they take the test, will be sent to the Braille Institute for scoring,” Otwell says acknowledging the Braille artwork behind her in the hallway. “These two are really special.”
It’s business as usual for these two. In fact, It’s just another challenge besides dealing with the already obvious.
And then there’s a lesson we can all learn from a 10th grader.
“A lot of people just grow up believing that if something is disabled or if something isn’t working, it automatically makes you inferior or different and I hate that,” Dhakal said. “I want to be treated like everybody else.”
Sujan wants to major in IT in college. He also writes fan fiction in his spare time. Meredith Is thinking of majoring in Literature or mythology.