Congratulations to the winners in KSB's 175th Anniversary Statewide Essay Contest! As promised, the winning essays in each category are listed below:
Elementary (K-5) Topic: What I Llike About KSB:
FIRST PLACE: Macy Spigelmire (4th grade), Kentucky School for the Blind
Elem-1st place Audio
I think KSB is the best school in the world. One reason that I think that is everyone is very friendly. I made friends very quickly . I feel comfortable at the school with everyone. Because the teachers are very warm hearted, caring and loving.
When I first came to KSB I did not know anything about the school or how it was set up. The teachers and students helped me figure out the campus and how it was set up. When I figured out the campus I felt familiar and confident that I knew my way around the campus.
What is special about KSB is that we are not just good close friends but we are one big family and that is what matters the most to me.
That is why I think KSB is the best school in the world.
SECOND PLACE Nick Runyon (5th grade), Kentucky School for the Blind
Elem-2nd place Audio
I like KSB because the teachers are very nice and kind. They help me with my reading, science, math, and social studies.
The equipment at KSB helps me work. I like PE because we get to do exercise like push-ups and sit-ups.
I like the Bill Roby games because we get to do fun activities. I like the softball throw. I get lots of gold medals.
In music, I sing a lot of songs. Every Tuesday, I have percussion. I get to bang on the snare drum with my stick.
I really like JV sports, I have done them for two years. I play goalball. In the game you are blind folded. My team and I won the game. I also like wrestling. In the big event I got hurt wrestling a big muscular guy. I cried for a minute but coach cheered me up.
That’s why I like KSB.
THIRD PLACE: Naomi Williams (5th grade), Heartland Elementary, Hardin Co. School District
Elem-3rd place Audio
KSB is a delightful place to go to school or attend short term. I'm in the short term program at KSB and one of my favorite things that I love is that they offer a cooking/baking class. They don't offer those types of classes at my school. This gives me a wonderful opportunity to express my creativity and ideas that I have in mind. This allows me to bring those ideas home and share them with my family. There are also my elementary friends that I have a chance to hang with when I'm there. The last thing that I personally think is fantastic is that in the Evans dorm I have my own bathroom because there are not a lot of elementary girls that stay in the dorm. That is what I love about KSB. What do you like?
Middle School/High School (6-12) Essay Topic: History of a Person for whom a KSB Building or Room is Named, or for whom a Campus Tree was Planted in their Honor
FIRST PLACE: Jacob T. Hack (11TH Grade), Kentucky School for the Blind
MS/HS 1st place Audio
Susan Buckingham Merwin was born November 21, 1874. Merwin became a teacher at the Institute for the Education of the Blind in 1895. In 1912 she became the third superintendent. She was in charge of the school and the American Printing House for the Blind. She was well liked and respected. She wasn’t selfish. On her death (May 6, 1923) with a salary of $100/month, she created a memorial fund of approximately $11,500 to be left with KSB and APH. As part of Merwin’s will she said her library would go to the school.
KSB transferred books to APH’s museum in 1997 and 2003 where they remain today. There is a room in Howser Hall named after her. The student’s accorded Merwin’s honor by buying two bronze lamps to be placed at the front entrance to the school building. They were later reinstalled on the side porch of Hartford Hall.
SECOND PLACE: Joshua Rister (10th Grade), Lewis County High School, Lewis Co. School District
MS/HS 2nd place Audio
Born in 1935, Will D. Evans was a typical young man. He attended school, played with friends, and spent time with his family. However, tragedy struck when Will was hit by a school bus and left with only partial vision. To many, this inconvenience would be devastating, leaving one without hope for normality or independence. It was through the Kentucky School for the Blind that Will found his gateway to these things, as well as a new outlook on life. The school embraced Will wholeheartedly, he no longer feared prejudice or discrimination because of his disability. Will continued his activity at KSB well past his education years. He returned as a teacher, coach, and later superintendent. Will's persistence, accomplishment, and refusal to back down in the face of adversity are a prime example of what KSB represents: accomplishment is not bound by what one can see, but what one can dream.
THIRD PLACE: Abigail L. Cassidy (11TH Grade), Greenup County High School, Greenup Co. Sch. District
MS/HS 3rd place Audio
Bryce McLellan Patten, the founder of the Kentucky School for the Blind, was inspired by his visually impaired brother, Otis. Upon noticing how Otis learned differently and needed accommodations, he became interested in the education of children who were blind and visually impaired. He first began to teach only six students in the summer of 1839. His brother attempted to get the money to build a school by letting the Kentucky General Assembly view the students' skills. The funding was not approved so Bryce and Otis asked Dr. Howe and his students to come to Kentucky to present the children’s abilities and potential to the Kentucky Legislature. Thankfully, in February of 1842, the Kentucky Institution for the Blind received $10,000. Bryce became the first superintendent of the school and Otis became the teacher.
Adult Essay Topic: How KSB has Influenced My Life
FIRST PLACE: Brian S. Mullins, Teacher, Kentucky School for the Blind
Adult 1st place Audio
I started at KSB at the summer work program with my sister. I was a freshman and she was a junior. Before that, we had little knowledge of what assistive technology was, what O&M was, how to read Braille and just how to be a successful blind student. This was our first real jobs because before that we were told we did not need to get a job because the government would pay us to be blind. Our eyes were opened that summer not just to work but also to everything KSB had to offer. It wasn’t just the programs but the staff, more than anything, cared about who we were, what our needs were, and were we wanted to go in life.
Before KSB I was not a good student, I was not a good person and I was a very poor representative of what it meant to be blind.
AT KSB some of the things I was taught was to dress for success, how to cook, how to ride a bus, to speak up for myself, to work with others, how to use technology, but the most important thing KSB gave me was to be better. To be a better person, to be a better worker, to be more driven and to want more for myself out of life than to live on a check for the government.
Without KSB I would not be a college graduate, I would not be employed, I would not be a homeowner, I would not be a coach, I would not be much of anything and I probably would not be alive today.
KSB means everything to me and I hope I can give what KSB gave to me to my students.
SECOND PLACE, Crystal Johnson, Paraprofessional, Kentucky School for the Blind
Adult 2nd place Audio
For the past several weeks I have been racking my brain trying to come up with the perfect essay submission. I am not the greatest with words, nor a distinguished writer. However, I can speak directly from my heart.
I have worked at KSB for the past 10 years. Over these years, I have watched numerous students grow, join athletic teams, and learn things that many of us take for granted such as walking, talking, and eating independently. I have experienced everything from joy when a new student enrolls, to sorrow when a beloved member of our KSB family has passed. And every May, even though I am happy for them, I experience a very selfish sadness as I watch another group of “My babies” move on. Every day for the past 10 years this school has influenced my life.
KSB is a home and family to me. Not many people can say that they love their profession and are happy with what they do, but I am one person that can. I may never be rich in money or own the fanciest things, but everyday these kids make me smile and laugh, and that makes me the wealthiest person in the world. Working here has taught me to think outside of the box and set higher expectations for not only the students, but myself as well. Every day I am reminded of how lucky I am. Every day these kids amaze and inspire me. I have learned just as much, if not more, from my students, as they have learned from me. The things that make KSB matter such as supportive coworkers and cherished students, continuously influence me in a positive way and I cannot imagine life without it. Working here has made me appreciate the simple, yet truly important things in life. I am a better person because of KSB.
THIRD PLACE: Deanna Scoggins, Louisville
Adult 3rd place Audio
When I was five years old, and entered KSB, my kindergarten teacher seemed to appear everywhere— in the dorm, when I was playing outside, and even at the mealtimes that weren't during the school day. Now, it seems that KSB is in my life every day. I read braille, use technology, mobility and cooking skills that I learned there, and have many friends that I made and am still making because of the school.
When I was six, a music teacher encouraged me to take piano lessons. I looked forward to each and every one of them. Today, I play music at church, nursing homes, parties, and just for my own enjoyment. Thanks, KSB for all of the music opportunities I encountered.
Many people were important in my early daily routines at the school. When I met a blind college student and was sure she was "an adult", I realized that if she could be successful, I could too.
I remember taking my first independent walk off campus with a cane. What freedom! Today I take many walks with my cane and/or my dog. What freedom!
Thanks, KSB, for all of the opportunities I had then, about 50 years ago. Thanks for your KNOWLEDGE, SUPPORT and BELIEF in blind and visually impaired people for 175 years, and for the infuence in my life then and now.
Click here to read all other essay submissions.