Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Student presents Braille map of city hall to council members


AZLE — Hoover Elementary students are leaving their mark on the City of Azle. After showcasing their idea to create a Braille map for Azle City Hall at a “Shark Tank” style Gifted and Talented Program competition dubbed the Hornet Nest, Azle students took the idea to the city council itself. While two of the group’s students, Lyam Havens and Alexis Senn were not present, sixth grader Samantha Bevan and GT teacher Rebecca Windham presented the idea to council members during a June 4 meeting for consideration.

Inspired by her own father’s color-blindness, Bevan and her team met with industry professionals and studied real world implementations of similar ideas to develop their plan. In preparing, the team met with representatives of Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth and toured its facility. The group also went to the University of North Texas to view the campus’ own Braille map. At the council meeting, Beven described the group’s process, its limitations and what it had accomplished so far.

“When they were thinking about what they wanted to do, her mindset was always something for Azle,” Windham said at the meeting. “She never veered off from that. She just thought, ‘what can I do for my city?’ I was just so impressed with her, and she just continuously floors me. It was such a cool opportunity for her to partner with Lighthouse for the Blind and UNT. It was such a big learning opportunity for them.”

Using Lighthouse for the Blind’s Braille printer, the students hope to create and deliver copies of the map to City Hall to use as a resource for any blind visitors to the building. Excited about the idea, Azle Mayor Alan Brundrett discussed the possibility of adding Braille room numbers in the building as well. Mayor Pro Tem Randa Goode, who also served as a Hornet’s Nest judge, said she enjoyed seeing kids solve real problems and use their imaginations.

“This is very cool that a student in the school district was thinking of what we need here in the city,” Goode said.