The Georgia Braille Challenge is a regional qualifying event for the national finals to be held in California. Only the top percentage scorers in regional competition will move on to the finals.
This was Fowler's fifth year to compete in the Georgia Braille Challenge. Each year he has competed, he has placed in the top three in his division. One of the students competing against Fowler in the Georgia Challenge competed in the national finals last year.
"I feel that Dustin finishing first shows how great Floyd County Schools' vision program is," said Amy Lowery, Dustin's mother. "All of the other students in his division were from the Georgia Academy for the Blind - a school specifically for teaching the blind."
Lowery added, "For Dustin to be in a public school system and score higher than these students shows how successful our vision program really is." Fowler's goal is to compete in the finals before he graduates.
The 13th annual Braille Challenge is the only national reading and writing contest in braille for blind and visually impaired students. Braille Challenge categories include reading comprehension, braille speed and accuracy, proofreading, spelling and reading tactile charts and graphs.
The preliminary rounds are open to students of all skills levels. Agencies and schools throughout the U.S. and Canada have partnered with Braille Institute to host 42 Regional Braille Challenge contests from mid-January through mid-March.
The top-scoring 60 contestants will travel to Los Angeles in June for the two day Finals competition.