July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Granger student wins Braille contest

MONTVILLE TWP. — A Granger Elementary School student won first place in his age group at the Braille Institute of America’s National Braille Challenge on Sat­urday.

Eight-year-old Griffin Miller was born with Leber’s congenital amaurosis, a rare visual impair­ment that has left him nearly blind. He traveled to Los Angeles with his mother, Rachel Miller, to compete in the challenge.

“He was just so excited. … He jumped out of his chair with the biggest grin” when they announced his name, Miller said. “It was very suspenseful.”

The first-place winners in each age group — Griffin competed in the first- and second-grade group — received a $1,000 savings bond and a Pac-MATE portable com­puter for the visually impaired with a Braille keyboard that talks to users.

“He’s playing around on it non­stop,” Miller said Tuesday.

She said they visited Universal Studios the day after the competi­tion and Griffin enjoyed the rides and tours.

A student of Braille since he was 2 years old, Griffin was tested in Braille spelling, reading compre­hension and proofreading during the only national academic com­petition for the blind and visually impaired.

He also was awarded for reading more than 1,000 pages of Braille writing this year through the Braille Readers Are Leaders pro­gram.

His disability has not prevented him from becoming a prodigy in the classroom and in his extracur­ricular activities.

Griffin showed interest in numbers before he was 2 and learned multiplication and division by age 3. Since then, he has skipped first grade and completed the sixth-grade math curriculum.

He can play classical pieces by Beethoven, Bach and Mozart on the piano, is learn­ing Spanish and German, and also participates in gymnastics and swimming.

Griffin said he is already preparing for next year’s com­petition, where he will com­pete in the third-grade age group.

“(It will be) maybe some­thing different … a little harder spelling … they’ll make the spelling words a little longer and they’ll make different errors,” he explained.

“He wants to be a finalist again next year,” Miller said.

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@medina-gazette.com.