The yearbook at Conifer High School in Colorado was pretty special this year. It’s theme was “More than meets the eye,” and there was a big reason for that. The yearbook was done in braille, so blind student RJ Sampson could enjoy it as much as the other, sighted students.
The yearbook staff also developed an app for RJ to play audio recordings of the text with the photos as well.
During his freshman year, RJ even questioned the possibility of having a yearbook in braille, but the resources for doing such a project were not quite there yet. But earlier this year however, they were able to make it happen, spending about 1,500 hours to make the special yearbook a reality. And by then, RJ had completely forgotten about his request a few years back.
Yearbook editor-in-chief Laurel Ainsworth presented the special book to RJ during a senior send-off assembly, and the entire school was able to witness the surprise presentation. And RJ could not stop smiling as the presentation was made.
Says RJ: “It’s absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to actually read it. It really means a lot to me. The community here is really so loving.”
Before this, RJ never got a yearbook because there was no way he could read and enjoy it. Putting a book together a book of this type was a great lesson in itself for the students involved, showing how important it is to include those who are disabled, and making them realize how often we, the sighted, can so often take our vision for granted.