Fairfield girl finishes in top 15 during North American braille competition

A Fairfield girl finished in the top 15 during a North America braille competition in Los Angeles recently.

A Fairfield girl finished in the top 15 during a North America braille competition in Los Angeles recently.

Eight-year-old Maggie Wehrle came in second place of the 12 students in the apprentice category (children in Grades 1 and 2) and finished in the top 15 against 60 other competitors from around the continent during the 15th annual Braille Institute Challenge on June 20.

Winners were announced during a gala on the final night.

“I was all tense and holding my mom’s hand. They announced the second place winners and that was me,” said the Margaret Jenkins Elementary school student. “I totally danced around my table, I was really, really, really happy.”

The one-day competition is similar to a spelling bee with spelling, proofreading, reading comprehension, and speed and accuracy tests to see how well competitors understand braille.

Though she came in second place, there’s a possibility she could have beat the first-place winner Brooke Petro from Kansas, whom Maggie had become close friends with during the competition.

“Brooke kept trying to give me her trophy. She kept saying, ‘you deserve this, take it, take it’,” said Maggie. “I helped her with her tests. I heard her muttering to herself so I gave her a few hints.”

But she remains adamant that the right person won the top prize.

“She’s my friend and I wanted to help her,” added Maggie, who has been nicknamed “Ms. Modesty” by her mother Melissa who accompanied her to the competition.

“She puts a lot of hard work into school and into extra curricular activities, whether that’s sports, music or scholarly things,” said her father Trevor. “We always encourage and give her feedback, but for her to get responses and accolades and awarded by people she doesn’t know, I imagine it’s quite gratifying for her and I couldn’t be happier for her.”

Nancy Niebrugge, associate vice president of national programs with the Braille Institute, said Maggie has a bright future in other competitions with the organization.

“Somebody like Maggie, as she grows, hoping she’ll come back, I anticipate she’ll make friends for life in a competition like this,” she said.

“For children who are visually impaired, the world doesn’t tend to expect as much from them, and this contest really demonstrates that they can live up to the highest expectations.”

With a silver medal under her belt, Maggie said she’s ready to compete for gold next year.

 

Just Posted

Cyclists and drivers take to the streets Wednesday morning in first official Bike to Work Week celebration

The 25th annual Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week kicks off the followingMonday, May 27

High of 21 C for Wednesday

Plus your weekend forecast

Rickter Scale: Testing that time of our lives

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist

Saanich lifeguards earn Vital Link awards for cardiac arrest response

Awards from BC Emergency Health Services recognize quick and skillful life-saving

Art and fashion collide for a cause at the Union Club of Victoria

May 26 event benefits Art Gallery of Greater Victoria exhibitions and educational programs

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Thetis housing project clouded by confusion

View Royal mayor clarifies details about Capital Region Housing Corporation project

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

‘Conservation financing’ could stop old-growth logging

Reader says with this type of financing province recognizes the benefit of forests

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Most Read