2017 Student of the Year Award Winner
John Byiringiro - TX
John learned about Hadley from his adoptive mother while living in Rwanda. “I was so excited to hear there was a school of the blind that would be free.”
John has been blind since he was seven months old. His mother was killed in a lightning storm and his eyes were burned, causing his blindness. “In Rwanda, disabilities are seen as a burden and sometimes a curse. My grandmother took me to an orphanage because she could not care for a disabled child.”
John’s instructor says, “John first registered with us in October of 2014, only two and a half years ago. Since then, he has taken 21 courses. John asks questions and applies what he learns.” John says he’s able to read faster because he learned to read contracted braille. Teachers in a Rwanda school for the blind told students they couldn’t do math. “I used to believe I would never be capable of doing math; however, my experience in the abacus course taught me otherwise. I feel accomplished and proud that I was able to learn how to use an abacus.”
John recalls, “One of my most memorable times is in a phone conversation with my instructor as she guided me in reading a world map. I had never seen a map in braille until this class, and it was such an incredible experience to realize that even though I cannot see, I can still read a map with my fingers and picture it in my mind.
“I would never have dreamed that one day I would be chosen as the student of the year. When I start getting discouraged, I can remember this award and be encouraged again.”