Students spends 1,500 hours making a braille yearbook for a blind teen who didn’t know about it

High school can be difficult, to put it mildly. Even for the most socially skilled kids, figuring out the educational maze while dealing with raging hormones, too much pressure, and worries about the future is not easy.

So, think about people who have to deal with even more. Teens like RJ Sampson, who was a senior at Colorado’s Conifer High School in 2019.

RJ was a smart young man who loved going to school, but he had trouble seeing, which made things harder for him.

Now, not being able to see may not take too much away from the quality of everyday life, but it can make things a lot harder and take away the beauty of some things that the rest of us take for granted.

For example, a yearbook.


Since a lot of what makes a yearbook fun to look at (pictures, funny writing, etc.), it’s not surprising that RJ was at a disadvantage.

So, on the last day of his freshman year, RJ got up the courage to ask his study hall teacher, “When are you going to make me a braille yearbook?”

Leslie Thompson, the teacher, thought it was a great idea, but maybe not one that would work. Even making regular yearbooks is a big job, so making one in braille would be even harder.


As time went on, not much more was said. The yearbooks came and went, and RJ had to accept that he might never get to enjoy a yearbook to its fullest extent.

Then, when he was a senior, Leslie and the yearbook committee spent more than 1,500 hours making a special yearbook for RJ. He didn’t know about it.

Yes, they made a braille version of the yearbook and gave it to him before the rest of the students.

“It was completely amazing that the students and staff went out of their way to make one for me,” RJ said. “There’s no words I can really use to express.”