LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The progress of Carmynn Blakeley is a wonderful WHAS11 update to pass along.
In May, we introduced you to 8-year-old Carmynn Blakely of Breckenridge Franklin Elementary in Louisville. She is the blind student selected to attend the National Braille Challenge.
After our story aired and thanks to community fundraising efforts, not only did Carmynn have enough funds to go to Los Angeles, she is returning a winner – a first-time victory for any Jefferson County Public School student.
“They said Apprentice First Place Winner, straight from Kentucky Carmynn Blakely,” the soon to be third grader said to our Tabnie Dozier via a phone call from Los Angeles.
Carmynn elevated her way through thousands of U.S. and Canadian students to earn her spot at the National Braille Challenge, it’s held at the University of Southern California.
“There were 30 spelling words, 10 proofreading sentences, and four reading comprehension passages.”
The trip includes her mother Rebecca Brown, teacher Deanna LeFan and they never would have been able to afford it without donations from Kentuckiana businesses and residents.
Carmynn’s mother tells us, “We did not expect for so many people to be so generous.”
Carmynn is taking home the top apprentice title amongst the best first and second graders, a refreshable braille unit with an iPad to help with her learning and she's also the winner of a cash prize.
“So instead of having a hard copy of her braille book, she can download that and read on her refreshable braille, so she could have a new book every day,” LeFan explained.
Carmynn was diagnosed with Septo-optic dysplasia when she was 6-months-old, leaving her blind.
But it is crystal clear that she finds joy in living and learning, her mother shares a photo of Carmynn reading a braille map at Disney Land while on her trip.
It’s a good idea to get used to this smile and intellect because barriers have and never will prevent Carmynn Blakely from living life to the fullest.
The trio will return later this week from California.