South Florida teen competes in national Braille Challenge

Silvio Plata, 15, will face off against 50 others

By Samantha Bryant - Reporter

MIAMI - Silvio Plata, 15, is a Braille whiz.

"(It's) a way to read and feel equal to sighted people when we're reading Braille," he said.

On Friday and Saturday, Plata will take the stage at the Braille Challenge at the University of Southern California, representing Florida to compete against 50 others.

"Braille is just as important as print is to a sighted person," Plata said. "Without Braille, we still have other technology, but having technology read to us is not enough. You have to know how to write."

Plata has been with Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired since he was a baby. Doctors said he developed cancer in his eyes as an infant, but that hasn't been a deterrent for the teen. 

"Our tagline is, 'It is possible to see without sight.' I am totally blind, just like Silvio. But yet, in a way, I do see. We just see things a little differently. That is the outcome of our program," said Virginia Jacko, president and CEO of Miami Lighthouse. 

Plata was a recipient for Local 10's My Future My Choice Life award in 2018. 

He's an impressive singer and musician, as well, contributing much of his success to his time at Miami Lighthouse.

"Music has always been significant in my life," Plata said. "It is a language that is used to express myself to other people."

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