High School Prints Braille Yearbook for Blind Student
Like most high school seniors, Maycie Vorreiter of California’s Windsor High School was excited to receive her yearbook. Of course, being blind since birth, Maycie was going to need someone to read it to her. But that was before her high school surprised her with a braille yearbook made just for her.
Creating a yearbook written entirely in braille, which is believed to be the first of its kind anywhere, was the idea of Charlie Sparacio, the yearbook staff’s Editor-in-Chief. He came up with the idea after the staff won $500 at a summer yearbook camp last year.
Sparacio brought the idea to Walsworth, the publisher who prints the school’s yearbooks, and they said they had never considered such an idea, in part because of the cost.
Printing the entire yearbook in braille cost $4,000, an amount that the yearbook staff agreed to split with the publisher to make the idea a reality. Maycie’s version comes in four volumes, with each one being three inches thick.
The yearbook staff kept it a secret from Maycie as long as they could, but the cat eventually got out of the bag. “I actually didn’t even know if a yearbook had been ordered,” Maycie explains. “But then at the end of the school year, they were like, ‘It’s being created, and oh by the way we’re making it in braille.'”
Even blind advocacy groups have never heard of a school doing a braille yearbook, as even schools for the blind do audio yearbooks. “That’s a pretty cool, inclusive gesture,” said George Abbott of the American Foundation for the Blind “It’s unique. It’s ambitious.”
The school even wrote the yearbook’s theme, “Finding Our Way,” in braille on the cover of the other 800 copies. That gesture made the moment all the sweeter when Maycie finally received her special copy.
“When I got it, I was just so amazed and excited,” she said. “It was one of those really awesome moments that I would want to relive again. My hope is that in the future, if there are other visually impaired students that go through high school, they get a yearbook for their senior year, too.”