Blind 8-year-old student heading to national competition

Blind 8-year-old heading to competition

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An 8-year-old student from Eastover Elementary School has ranked 6th in the nation in his age group in a National Braille Challenge.

Amare Legette was born blind. He was also born reading, according to his teacher Holly Jeffries.

"He's extremely fast at reading. He reads about 150 words per minute," Jeffries said.

Amare reads a series of dots with his fingers to interpret them into words. Reading braille is more complicated than just memorizing those dots, according to Jeffries.

"Each dot corresponds to a letter, it also could correspond to a whole word. A student has to learn 189 braille contractions and they have to master them to be able to be fluent readers," said Jeffries.

In March, Amare competed in a national qualifying round of the Braille Challenge in Denver, NC. His placement in qualifying earned him a trip to Los Angeles in June to compete against 50 other children in his age group from all over the country.

Currently he ranks 6th in his age group.

"This is the first time in 10 years a student from North Carolina has qualified for the nationals," Jeffries said. "So we're really proud of him. And I think he's proud of himself too."

Amare says he's thrilled to go to Los Angeles but as he told his teacher with a grin, "I don't like the tests."

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