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2018 Student of the Year Award Winner: Naoko Zoerlein

My name is Naoko Zoerlein. I came from Virginia, but originally I am from Japan. My daughter Maria, when she was five, we noticed her problem with the eyes, so we went to the eye doctor. Basically the brain tumor, it's a craniopharyngioma, pushes the optic nerve. The optic nerve had been damaged since you know she was growing the tumor in her brain. Even right after she lost her vision that was a surprise for all of us.

A lot of teachers and educators came to us explaining what she needs, and then we learned Hadley Institute. That's actually for us not for her, because she was studied the braille with her vision teacher, and I wanted to know, so my husband too. We wanted to learn what she learns, so the Hadley Institute is the place that we had to go, and we found tons of courses, and as a parent of the blind kid, I encourage parents to learn braille because I know that a lot of parents don't know braille.

The Hadley provides free courses, so we feel more encouraged to take courses, so that as the parents we can help our blind kids. Without Hadley we couldn't build up the relationship with Maria as well as we have now, because she lives in the braille world, and we don't have anything to know without Hadley.

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