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  • The Mississippi School for the Blind Principal Eddie Spann visited Studio 3 and taught about Braille.

    The Mississippi School for the Blind Principal Eddie Spann visited Studio 3 and taught about Braille.

  • Dr. Fant was the keynote speaker at the Mississippi Association of the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind (MAER)  conference, and did a phenomenal job!  In her keynote, Elevating Social Well-Being While Adjusting to Blindness, Dr. Fant shared her personal story of going blind as a senior in high school and the challenges she overcame to be the successful professional she is today. She also included video testimonies by Antrese Berry and Curtis Holman, both of whose candid recollections of their struggles impacted all who were in the room.  Mr. Funchess narrated the video portions of her presentation and did an awesome job as well.  Thank you all!  

    Doctor Fant Holding a LectureDr. Fant Image:  Dr. Fant boldly and confidently stands before the crowd for her keynote.  Behind her is her opening PowerPoint slide for her presentation in vertical blue/gold stripes which states, Elevating Social Well-Being While Adjusting to Blindness, Dr. Lashawna Fant.                           

    a group of people in a roomWe were elated that Tyler Griffin was awarded the Sam Johnson President’s Award for his continued success and contributions to the field of blindness.  “Tyler, we are so proud of you, and for you as you continue to excel at MSDB!” These were the words President Jane Harty shared about the award and why Tyler received the honor.

     Tyler Griffin Award Image:  President Jane Harty gives Tyler a big grin holding his plaque in her left hand and offering a handshake to him.  Tyler is shaking Jane’s hand with a smile as Past-President Harold looks on from behind.

    Sam Johnson was the first chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and served from 1955-2000.  He served on the Board of Trustees for the MS Schools for Blind and Deaf for many years.  Dr. Sam was passionate about rehabilitation work and spoke to rehabilitation counselors every year.  The 2023 Sam Johnson President’s Award recipient is gracious and patient.  He never makes someone feel small.  He helps others in real-time.  This recipient has ambitious and innovative ideas that help make us better as an organization.  Even when his family was visiting, he jumped onto the Program Committee Zoom meeting.  This recipient will take the time to work with each of us to help us improve and make things more accessible.

    a group of people posing for a photoFinally, MSB received the 40-Year Service Award for continuous MAER membership, which is a testament to our continued support for MAER and our own continuous learning.  

    MSB Award Image:  MSDB was well-represented as Mr. Spann holds the 40-year Service Award.

    From left to right and all smiles: Cindi Matthews, Dionne Lewis, Charles Hansler, Lisa Simon, Eddie Spann, Dr. Jeremy Stinson, Dr. Antonio Magee, and Tyler Griffin.

  •  Gabriel Frederick shaking hands   a group of people posing for a photo    a group of people standing in front of a door Gabriel Frederick standing next to a wooden cabinet

    Gabriel Frederick, from Scouts BSA Troop 300 in Brandon, MS, recently completed his Eagle Project benefiting the Mississippi School for the Deaf and Blind.  He created two storage units, one 6-foot by 6-foot storage shelving unit and one 4-foot by 6-foot clothes hanging unit.  They were delivered to the school on January 30, 2023.  

    Gabriel found out about the need through Mrs. Jessica Nichols, who recently worked with her family’s Cub Scout Pack, Pack 576 to hold a clothing drive benefiting the school.  He worked with Mrs. Nichols to create a design that would meet the needs of the school, and get approval to conduct the project.  She also helped him to arrange delivery with the school and to have a chance to meet the school’s leadership team.

    Gabriel was responsible for the design, planning, funding, and execution of his project, including leading youth and adult members of his troop to assist him in the build.  Gabriel created a GoFundMe page to collect donations from friends and family to help him pay for the materials and supplies needed.  He also presented a request to Lowes in Flowood, Mississippi, who generously donated the wood needed to complete the project. Combined planning and execution time spent on this project by Gabriel and his team was over 106 hours.

    Gabriel, who plans to attend Mississippi State in the fall to study Mechanical Engineering, really enjoyed the design and building of this project and was excited to see his plans realized in the completion of the storage units.