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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Taci Humphries

Taci Humphries

Ash Flat, Arkansas

Taci Humphries, 12, of Ash Flat, Arkansas, a sixth-grader at Highland Middle School, has spent many hours tutoring a visually impaired student in her class, and in the process has helped him improve his grades dramatically. An enthusiastic volunteer, Taci had served her community in a variety of capacities over the years, helping at a special needs rodeo, tutoring students, making lap blankets for local veterans and helping teachers get their classrooms ready for the start of a new school year, in addition to many other volunteering, academic and leadership activities. But she wasn’t prepared for how her math teacher’s request last August to help the new kid in school “would change my whole life!”

It turned out the new kid was a boy who has significant visual impairment. First, Taci had to learn to read and write in Braille. She also had to come up with ways to turn visual concepts such as grids and tables into something that didn’t require sight. “After racking my brain, I came up with the idea of using Play-Doh,” said Taci. “Now he figures his ratios just like the rest of us.” While her new friend has thrived under her tutoring — he even placed in a state-level Braille-reading competition this year — Taci insists she is the one who has learned the most as she’s watched him refuse to be defined by his disability. The experience has made her think about a future career working with children who have disabilities. “I have gotten so much more than I’ve given,” she said. “I have learned that I have no right to complain and that sometimes to really see something, you don’t look with your eyes.”