IDEA Student Earns Second Place in Braille Institute Regional Competition

Yahanna Gonzalez has not been deterred by life’s challenges.

Born blind, Yahanna has instead worked hard at mastering braille. She even sells braille name plaques to teachers and students to raise money for her college field lessons.

Her teachers will tell you that Yahanna is the kind of student who is not dissuaded by hard work.

Recently, the 10th grader competed in her first Braille Institute Regional Competition, earning second place in her division.

Before the competition, Yahanna found her excitement tempered by her nervousness. But then she remembered what her teacher, Graciela Olivo, told her: “the most important thing is to have a good time.”

“I competed, but had a good time,” she told KVEO-TV.

The Braille Institute competition – the only one of its kind in North America — tests students in fundamental braille skills, such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs.

Yahanna, who enrolled in IDEA Mission College Prep as a 9th grade student last year, hopes to become an immigration attorney one day. She wants to help people like her mother who was deported and also keep children from experiencing the heartbreak that comes with family separations. Yahanna now lives with her grandmother.

She has a passion for helping others and is determined to not let anything stop her from achieving her goals. This comes as no surprise to her teacher, Ms. Olivo.

“She is excellent at what she attempts to do,” Ms. Olivo told KVEO-TV. “And even when things are a little hard for her she makes it a point to go ahead and put in the effort to learn.”

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