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Spring 2001 Volume 6, No. 2


One of the best things about working in the field of visual impairments and deafblindness is the wonderful people who become your friends through the years. At the Texas Symposium on Deafblindness which took place in February in Dallas, many of my friends, new and old, came together to learn and to honor some special people we know. Beginning on page 9 you can learn more about this celebration and some special awards that were presented there.

Another event, the Texas AER Conference, took place in April, and a number of our friends were honored there. Join us in congratulating all these deserving folks and celebrating their achievements.

The Natalie Barraga Award for this year was presented to Sports Extravaganza (see the Winter 2001 SEE/HEAR) in recognition of excellence in public school programs for students with visual impairments. Yeah Kitra Gray and pals!

The Outstanding Parent of the Year Award was presented to Leslie Fansler of Amarillo in recognition of outstanding advocacy and dedication to the interest of people who are blind and visually impaired. Leslie, parent of two sons - one with deafblindness, is also a PPCD classroom teacher. Leslie serves as DBMAT Regional Coordinator for ESC Region 16 and is active in that organization along with her husband, Keith. Leslie was also recently awarded the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award as an outstanding educator. We are very proud of you Leslie.

The Outstanding Student of the Year Award was presented to Will Conrad in recognition of outstanding achievement and performance in an academic career. Will graduates this Spring from Eanes ISD, near Austin. His former vision teacher, Ann Adkins, accepted the award on his behalf. He was at Rice University in Houston, attending freshman orientation, and unable to attend. Best wishes to you, Will, as you begin your college career!

The Virginia Bishop Award, presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of early childhood for children who are blind and visually impaired, was awarded to my teammates, Gigi Newton and Stacy Shafer. You gals have long been considered the Dynamic Duo by your Outreach pals. Congratulations!

The Texas Chapter Award was presented to Blind and Visually Impaired Children's Program Coordinators of Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind) , in recognition of outstanding contributions to the lives of persons who are blind and visually impaired. We all know about the hard work and dedication of these Coordinators. Bravo!

The Aubrey Boyd Tipps Memorial Award was presented this year to Angie Baird, TCB Vocational Counselor, in recognition of providing outstanding services in the field of placement of persons who are blind and visually impaired in competitive employment or sheltered workshops. Angie has placed fifty-one individuals in employment situations this year. That averages out to roughly one placement a week, excluding Christmas! Great job!

The Sammie K. Rankin Memorial (Outstanding Member) Award was presented to Debra Sewell, former Outreach staff member and current TSBVI Curriculum Director. This award was given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of services for persons who are blind and visually impaired, and in particular for her work in developing the Assessment KIT and the Braille FUNdamentals Curriculum. Congratulations Debra!

The Julia L. Young Award was presented to Melissa Whiddon in recognition of outstanding work with children who are blind and visually impaired. Melissa is the supervisor of the vision program in San Antonio ISD and a diagnostician who has worked hard to learn about the unique issues of children with visual impairments. We appreciate your dedication to this population.

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Last Revision: July 22, 2004