School for the Blind ninth-grader to compete in national Braille Challenge® finals in LA

Elementary and high school-age young ladies with white canes wear medals and hold certificates in front of a trophy case.

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Defending champion Richelle Zampella from Muskogee will return to Los Angeles this June to defend her title in the national Braille Challenge® finals competition.

This is the third time Zampella, now a ninth-grader at Oklahoma School for the Blind, has competed at the national level.

In 2015, she won first place in the junior varsity division at national Braille Challenge® against students from the United States and Canada.

OSB community service day “Gives Back” to Muskogee, Fort Gibson communities

Young poeople play horns and drums in lobby

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Once again, Oklahoma School for the Blind students will volunteer May 12 in Muskogee and Fort Gibson for their fourth “OSB Gives Back Day.”

The experience was developed by OSB science teacher Cheryl Daniels, who convinced students to give community service a try in 2012.

“We are so fortunate at the school,” Daniels said. ”People are always so generous. I told the students, ‘Let’s show people that we can give back.’’’

Schools for the Deaf, Blind best education options for freshmen cousins

Two young girls

OKLAHOMA CITY – Shannon Varner and Malerie Levens are both freshmen just finishing their first years at new high schools.

Varner, age 14, transferred from Sulphur Public Schools to Oklahoma School for the Deaf where her mother KaAnn is superintendent and her father Tommy is athletic director. Both parents are deaf.

Varner’s cousin and best friend Levens, age 15, from Owasso was previously home-schooled. She wanted help with new technology to compensate for vision loss and chose Oklahoma School for the Blind.

Rehabilitation Services honors hometown heroes at state Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services honored hometown heroes in a ceremony at the state Capitol during People with Disabilities Awareness Day.

This year, 742 people participated in the annual disability advocacy and information event.

Dr. Terry L. Cline, Health Department commissioner and Health and Human Services of cabinet secretary, represented Governor Mary Fallin as the keynote speaker.
DRS presented 2015 awards to the following people:

Alex Pippins from McAlester – Client of the Year

Rehabilitation Services invites deaf community to employment meetings

OKLAHOMA CITY – Deaf Oklahomans are invited by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services to two meetings to discuss vocational rehabilitation services and current employment issues faced by the Deaf community.

The Tulsa meeting is scheduled April 14 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Student Union at Tulsa Community College Northeast, 3727 E. Apache Street.

The Oklahoma City meeting is scheduled April 26 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at DRS’ Career Planning Center, 5813 S. Robinson Avenue.

800+ to promote disability awareness April 5 at state Capitol

Young woman speaks with man wearing suit and tie

OKLAHOMA CITY – An award-winning deaf cheerleader and high school dropout who made the college honor roll will join 800 other advocates for People with Disabilities Awareness Day April 5 at the state Capitol.

Participants are encouraged to share their success stories during the 22nd consecutive event, scheduled from noon to 4:30 p.m.

Dr. Terry Cline, Health and Human Services secretary, will be the keynote speaker at a 3 p.m. awards ceremony in the 2nd floor west hall.

Twenty-four students score at School for the Blind Braille Challenge®

Elementary and high school age girls hold white canes and certificates.

MUSKOGEE, Okla. –– If Braille literacy is the key to employment for blind people, then one group of braille competitors from Oklahoma has a bright future ahead.

Twenty-four students competed in the Braille Challenge® competition recently held at the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee.

Two sisters Richelle and Katelynn Zampella earned gold medals and were overall winners in the junior varsity and freshman categories.

The Zampella sisters are OSB students.

Oklahoma School for the Blind is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Oklahoma School for the Deaf Academic Team headed to national competition

2 adults seated and 4 teens standing in classroom

SULPHUR, Okla. – The Oklahoma School for the Deaf’s Academic Team is headed to national competition April 23-26 at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

OSD earned a hard-won fourth place in an 18-team tournament February 25-28 at Gallaudet’s Southeast Regional Academic Bowl in Danville, Kentucky.

Gallaudet University is the world leader in liberal education and career development for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Former OK School for the Blind superintendent Larry Hawkins to serve as interim during nationwide search

Man wearing business suit and tie

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Larry Hawkins will start his first day as interim superintendent at the Oklahoma School for the Blind on March 1. Hawkins previously served as OSB superintendent for 18 months in 2010 and 2011.

OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Hawkins’ appointment was one of the first major decisions by Interim DRS Executive Director Noel Tyler.