TALLADEGA -- The Helen Keller School of Alabama hosted the first “Cane Quest” competition in the state of Alabama on Saturday.
“We’ve been trying to bring it to Alabama for the past four years,” said Melody Brown, the orientation and mobility specialist at Helen Keller School. “Cane Quest is a national program of the Braille Institute of America. We are now the 14th state to have this event.”
Sandra Ware, principal at Helen Keller School, said students in grades 3-6 compete against one another at stations that tests their skills with a cane.
At one station, students have to get into the back seat of a car and properly buckle themselves in. At another station, students follow a sound, using their cane to reach a certain location.
Brown said there are 16 skill stations, and students are judged on technique. Students compete for gold coins (tokens) they can turn in for prizes and gifts.
The top student performer received an Apple TV, Brown said. Seven students participated in the day-long event.
“I was told not to expect a large crowd the first year,” Brown said. “Hopefully, it will grow and expand.”
She said school officials hope word spreads across the state about the competition, which not only helps identify things a student may need to work on, but it is also used to help teachers become better teachers.
In addition, college students who are thinking about getting into special education can assist with the event, giving them some exposure to the career field.
Brown said after holding the event three consecutive years, organizers can expand the competition to grades 3-12.
She said this year’s Cane Quest competition attracted students from Pell City, Huntsville and Madison.
The Cane Quest competition is for blind or deafblind students.
The Helen Keller School of Alabama is for students with multiple impairments.
“Our motto is deaf, blind, limitless,” Brown said.
Brown said the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind sponsored Cane Quest.