Indian Township Student Celebrates Historic Year with Fudge at Calais Business

Photo: Lewey Harnois stands with Candy Bridges, owner of Baring Gifts. (Photo by Jarod Farn-Guilette).


By Jarod Farn-Guillette

 

For many of us, simply the sight of fudge is enough to spark a Pavlovian response: the mouth begins to water, and the eyes grow bigger than the stomach; to overcome the urge is utter hubris, we just eat the fudge. Yet what many of us take for granted – the sight of fudge – for others, it is another sensory path that elicits the same collapse of willpower and eventual need for a napkin. Recently, Baring Gifts at Knock on Wood hosted Lewey Harnois, a student of Indian Township School's Junior High. Harnois, then a sixth grader, now entering into seventh, was celebrating a not so small feat and historic event: his mastery of Braille, a feat that he accomplished in just 3 months. 

Harnois' diligent work with his vision specialist during this time had paid off and the reward for such hard work was hosted at the local business. Along with Robin Bouchard of Indian Township School, Harnois was invited to manufacture his own fudge, a famous mainstay of the establishment for over twenty-five years. 

Harnois has mastered the use of Braille – a reading and writing system that, according to the American Foundation for the Blind, was first developed in France in 1809, coincidently by the phonetically same Louis (pronounced Lewey) Braille. Braille consists of a code of raised dots embossed on paper that represent letters of the alphabet to “shorthand” words. Think of a morse-code like sequence with only dots, no dashes, raised to be felt not read. By using the sense of touch, the reader transmits the coded dots into words and in the same fashion as those with sight, forms the mental construct of words and sentences. Harnois’ achievement at learning Braille is commendable for just the amount of effort it takes to learn. Doing so required the same effort given to his other classes, especially science. What makes Harnois’ accomplishment even more meaningful is that he is the first Passamoquoddy tribal member to have learned Braille. 

Literacy is an important skill in the modern world. The ability to read and write is as important for survival as it is for an enriched life. Take any trip to a large city's public transit system and in the same place as all the directional and warning signs for passengers, you will find Braille. In addition to the Braille signage keeping all citizens safe and informed is a thoughtful urban design that accounts for the many varied abilities of all citizens. Harnois’ learning of Braille is one more step towards his future independence and success, probably either in science or creative writing (his wild and humourous imagination is evident by his many zany and exciting stories written at school) and that he can express himself and his ideas is society's gain. The historic accomplishment by Lewey is sure to be one of many, here's to his continued success and development. 

 

The sweet smell of a year's worth of hard work. Lewey Harnois made this batch of fudge with the help of Robin Bouchard and Baring Gifts to celebrate his becoming the first Passamaquoddy to learn Braille. (Photo by Jarod Farn-Guilette).