High school is the time when kids step their first steps to adulthood and become teens. Everything changes around during this time for them. So, high school can be challenging for anyone, but it can be even more difficult for those with additional obstacles to navigate, such as visual impairment.
From struggling to read small text on a chalkboard or computer screen to having difficulty locating classroom materials or assignments, these students must contend with many obstacles that can make even the most mundane tasks feel like insurmountable hurdles. This story is about a student achieving something great in high school for the first time ever.
RJ Sampson had a tougher high school time.
RJ Sampson is a visually impaired student at Conifer High School in Colorado. Despite his love for school, RJ struggled to enjoy certain aspects, such as yearbooks, fully. For visually impaired people, a simple activity like enjoying a yearbook can be an unattainable luxury.
The inability to see pictures, read captions or appreciate other visual elements can make it challenging to engage with these cherished mementos of high school life fully. Moreover, students with visual impairments often experience a sense of isolation and exclusion, as they may struggle to participate in group activities or social events.
One day, on the last day of his freshman year, RJ mustered up the courage to ask his study hall teacher Leslie Thompson if she could make him a braille yearbook. She thought it was a great idea but knew it would be a significant challenge, as creating a yearbook is already a monumental task.
RJ continued high school while taking all in
Despite these challenges, however, students with visual impairments are often some of their schools’ most resilient and determined individuals. Years passed, and RJ continued to miss out on the whole experience of yearbooks. RJ worked tirelessly to overcome the obstacles in his path to achieve academic and personal success. He refused to let their visual impairments hold them back.
Then it all ended in his senior year when Leslie and the yearbook committee surprised him with a special braille yearbook. They had put in over 1,500 hours of work to create a unique yearbook just for RJ, transposing all of its contents into braille.
The teacher and the committee were dedicated to giving a smile to one student.
For RJ, receiving the braille yearbook was a truly incredible experience. He expressed his gratitude and amazement at the effort and dedication the students and staff had put in to make his yearbook experience memorable. When we put in the effort to comprehend and accommodate our peers’ unique needs and challenges, We can cultivate a supportive and encouraging environment for learning for everyone. RJ’s story also reminds us of the power of kindness and small acts’ impact on others. Watch the touching video of RJ receiving the yearbook HERE.