Texas Chapter AwardTo be presented to the individual or organization, not responsible for direct delivery of services to persons who are blind or visually impaired, but who has, in one form or another, made an outstanding contribution to work for these persons. Possible recipients include legislators, eye care professionals, physicians, employers, public officials, and interested individuals or organizations.
Aubrey Boyd Tipps Memorial AwardThe late Aubrey Boyd Tipps was vitally interested in rehabilitation and placement services for persons who were blind. This award is dedicated to Mr. Tipp's philosophy that true rehabilitation results in employment. The Aubrey Boyd Tipps Memorial Award is presented to an individual or organization who consistently provides outstanding employment services to persons who are blind or visually impaired in competitive careers consistent with their interests, skills, and abilities.
Sammie K. Rankin Memorial Award (Outstanding Member Award)The late Sammie K. Rankin was the first director of the Lighthouse for the Blind in Waco and was a supervisor of rehabilitation teachers with the Texas Commission for the Blind for many years. This award is to be presented in her honor and memory to an individual or organization who has made an outstanding contribution to services for persons who are blind or visually impaired in Texas. Any TAER member is eligible for nomination for the award.
Julia L. Young AwardThis award is in honor of Julia L. Young, who provided leadership in the development of the visually handicapped children's program of the Texas Commission for the Blind and gave direction and guidance to that program for many years. The award is presented to an individual who has done outstanding work with children who are visually impaired in Texas. Examples include: special education teachers, regular classroom teachers, caseworkers, therapists, volunteer workers, and other individuals providing direct services to children with visual impairments.
Natalie Barraga AwardThe Natalie Barraga Award recognizes excellence in public school programs for students with visual impairments. The award is given in honor of Dr. Natalie Barraga for her long and distinguished career in the education of students with visual impairments and in university personnel preparation. Awards are given to a small program (1‑20 students) and to a large program (21 students and over). School districts and special education cooperatives may enter their programs in visual impairment for the award. After a program has been nominated, an entry form will be sent directly to the program to request more specific information.
Virginia Bishop AwardThis award is to be presented to an individual, group, or agency who has contributed outstanding service and/or contributions to the field of early childhood education in relation to blindness and visual impairment.
Phil Hatlen AwardThe Phil Hatlen Award recognizes excellence in leadership and innovative changes in the field of Visual Impairment. This award is given in honor of Dr. Phil Hatlen for exemplary and dedicated service to our field. A visionary of change, Dr. Hatlen has been an inspiration to countless professionals during his career as a teacher, university professor in teacher preparation programs, and in his many leadership roles in national and state organizations and committees. He currently shares his enthusiastic commitment to the continuous improvement of educational opportunities for blind or visually impaired students as superintendent of Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
The recipient of this award may be an administrator or university professor. This recipient must have brought about innovative changes or provided out-standing leadership to our field that ultimately improved services to programming and quality of life to students with a visual impairment.
Outstanding Parent of the YearThis award will be presented to a parent (or parents) who has demonstrated advocacy and dedication in the interest of persons with visual impairments. This award is limited to the parents of an individual with a visual impairment. Examples include parents involved with legislative lobbying, public awareness and education, or the development of appropriate educational services and programs.
Outstanding Student of the YearThis award will be presented to an outstanding high school or college student who has demonstrated unparalleled accomplishments in academic achievement, the pursuit of a vocational goal, athletic performance, or the arts.
Jim Durkel Paraprofessional/Worker of the Year AwardThis award is given in honor of Jim Durkel, a dedicated TSBVI Outreach professional who worked tirelessly to support teachers and used his vast array of talents, knowledge, and abilities to improve the lives of students with visual impairments across the state and the nation. This award will be presented to a full-time paraprofessional or worker who, like Jim, has demonstrated initiative, diligence, and integrity in the work they performed. The recipient will have used their talents to promote the acceptance and understanding of persons who are blind or visually impaired and have actively promoted the independence of the students he/she serves.
Patrick Van Geem Assistive Technology AwardThis award is given in honor of Patrick Van Geem, who began his career in the field of blindness and visual impairment in the early 1980s as a residential instructor at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. While employed at TSBVI he attended school and became certified as a teacher of students with blindness and visual impairments. He then worked as a Dorm Teacher, an itinerant TVI through the Austin Independent School District, and then in the Outreach Programs of the Texas School for the Blind as an Assistive Technology and Braille Production Specialist. Not only did Pat provide support to TVIs and students across the state of Texas, he also networked extensively with others in and outside of our field involved in technology. He was forward thinking and stayed up-to- date on new equipment and was aware of technologies and devices in development. This award recognizes values that Pat demonstrated through his work; continuous excellence, exceptional service, and inspirational leadership. This award will be presented to a TVI or team member who demonstrates outstanding instruction and support in an education setting of a student(s) with blindness or visual impairment using Assistive Technology.
O&M Best Practices Award
The O&M Best Practices award is given to an individual or group of individuals who demonstrate exemplary standards in professionalism, has effective communication, is creative in teaching skills, and plays an integrative role in teaming with other professionals and family members.
Bob Bryant/Bill Bryan O&M Leadership Award
To be given to an individual (an O&M specialist or layperson) who has had an enduring impact on the field of O&M in the state of Texas. The award is given in honor of Bill Bryan and Bob Bryant who started the first O&M program in Texas and continued to serve the field in a variety of positions. The recipient should be a person who has unceasingly served the O&M field in many capacities, i.e. as a TAER officer, committee member, SWOMA organizer, researcher/author, conference presenter, promoter of better O&M services for students/consumers, advocate for O&M professionalism and growth, etc.
The Mike Shirley O&M Student Award
To be presented to an O&M student/consumer who has shown unusual determination and courage as he/she endeavored to learn and maintain the skills needed to be an independent traveler to the highest degree possible.
Student with a Visual Impairment Scholarship: This scholarship is for a student with a visual impairment who is either preparing or currently attending college.
Note: Letters should address how the student meets the scholarship criteria. Additionally, the Scholarship Committee reserves the right to request documentation of educational status and visual impairment as well as information pertaining to other scholarships applied for or awarded to the nominee.
Professional Preparation Scholarship: This scholarship is for a student who has either been accepted or is currently attending college to study either rehabilitation or education of people with visual impairments.