MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Thirty Oklahoma students competed for awards at the sixth Oklahoma Regional Cane Quest competition hosted recently in Muskogee by the Oklahoma School for the Blind.
OSB invited certified orientation and mobility specials and certified teachers of the visually impaired to score each student’s orientation and mobility skills.
Seventeen competitors earned medals in four categories based on grade levels and degree of visual accuity:
Top Scouts: Hunter Kelley – Cushing, Quante Sellers - OKC, Skyler Moore – Keefeton and Angel Cozort - Ketchum
The students earned the same medals in the Top Scouts category.
Explorers B1: Gold: Elbin Carrillo, OKC, Silver: Julio Valdez, OKC, Bronze: Anthony Bloemer, Muskogee
Explorers B2: Gold: Avery Carrington, Tulsa, Silver: Katelynn Zampella, Muskogee, Bronze: Tyanna Culley, Coweta
Trailblazers B1: Gold: Richelle Zampella, Muskogee, Silver: Nicholas Jackson-Morrison, Muskogee, Bronze: Gabrielle King, Roland
Trailblazers B2: Gold Jake Marsh, Fairfax, Silver: Nathan England, Jenks, Bronze: Gianna Loepp, OKC
Expert cane skills increase independence by helping for blind or visually impaired users scan for obstacles or landmarks used for navigation. White canes also remind drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians with white canes
“Cane Quest motivates students to refine their cane travel skills and orientation skills in order to compete against other students,” said Faye Miller, OSB certified orientation and mobility instructor and Cane Quest regional coordinator. “They practice these skills for months before the event, making them more effective and independent travelers without them even realizing benefits related to safety and self-sufficiency.”
“Contestants also have the opportunity build self-esteem by showing off their skills to the many community volunteers who help with the event,” Miller said. “The volunteers, on the other hand, see the proof that cane users who are blind can travel safely and independently in unfamiliar areas.”
In addition to OSB, Regional Cane Quest sponsors include the Braille Institute of America, OG&#, Frank Dirksen, NANOPAC, Inc., NewView Oklahoma, LS&S, Sapulpa Lions Club, Ruth Kelly Studios, Oklahoma Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and Muskogee County Oklahoma Home and Community Education.
Cane Quest is a national program of the Braille Institute of America, based in Los Angeles, California.
OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
The academic program for OSB residential and commuter students meets all state-mandated education requirements. Students also receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility and other areas. They attend classes Monday through Thursday free of charge and are transported home for three-day weekends during the regular school year. OSB staff also assist students with vision impairments who attend other public schools, their families and educators.