MACON, Ga. — The Georgia Academy for the Blind has a class of twelve students with different backgrounds. One student’s love of reading brought her to a pre-school class at Hartley Elementary.
Judy Charles was born blind.
"My official diagnosis is called Peters anomaly, and that means the cornea and retinas didn't develop like they were supposed to,” she said.
A decade ago, she began at the Georgia Academy for the Blind, staying Monday through Friday and going home on the weekends.
"When I first came here, I didn't trust anyone because I'm in this new place, new desk, new everything, and then on top of that you're telling me I don't get to go home every day? What kind of mess is this,” she recalled.
But she did adjust, and last summer she began teaching preschoolers how to read.
She teaches them how to read both braille and sight books and says she has one goal.
"For other people to love reading too, but I don't want them to struggle because if you struggle with reading [then] reading is boring, but if you have the tools to help you, reading becomes fun,” she said.
And some of her favorite books?
"A Chair for my Mother -- that book always makes me cry, and then 'Miss Nelson is Missing.’ I always read that book no matter where I am with kids,” said Charles.
She plans to keep teaching, but first she’s going to get more help for herself.
“On June 2, I’m going to Rustin, Louisiana for extra training in mobility,” she said.
She’ll learn how to cook there and be more self-sufficient.
Charles will be enrolling in the Louisiana Center for the Blind this summer and says she wants to come back to be a teacher at the Georgia Academy for the Blind one day.