Visually impaired students compete in 17th Annual Technology Olympics

POSTED: Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 2:21pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 1, 2013 - 12:07pm

We're all guilty of wanting the latest and greatest technology. But, what if you couldn't go out and get the standard iPad off the shelves because you were born visually impaired? This a reality for many people across the world.

On Thursday, more than five dozen students across Central Texas got together to participate in the Technology Olympics, crafted just for them. This annual interaction is a vital experience for the children.

"It's really a challenging world, but if you really put your mind to something, it's really not too bad," said former Technology Olympics participant Stephanie Lee.

26-year-old Lee has experienced the world differently than most, since she was born visually impaired. Thursday, she came to the 17th Annual Technology Olympics to encourage and motive 61 students who face the same life challenges as she. Lee graduated high school in 2005 and has since started working for two radio stations in Waco as both a producer and on-air talent.

"It's not just a day to get out of school and come to socialize. It's a day to come and compete with people just like you and kind of talk about your dreams and goals," said Lee.

Kids from 25 school districts in Texas got to experience something they don't get to do on a regular basis, which is to meet other kids just like them. Some visually impaired students don't even have one another person on campus to relate to.

"Just the interaction with each other, they get to be themselves and visit with kids that have the same disability that they have," said Education Specialist Melba Bunch, for Education Service Center Region 12.

"Other kids like me," said Technology Olympics participant Shelby Weakley of Harker Heights High School. Weakley has been attending the Olympics for the past nine years.

Kids competed with one another, using laptops, manifying glasses, and i-pads specially equipped to meet their needs.

"We're really seeing a lot of the new technology," said Bunch.

Even Lee is excited to come out and see the technology that's constantly evolving.

"There are just so many changes with technology."

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