7-year-old writes letter requesting vacation time for her principal

By By Kara Carrier / American Press

Seven-year-old Ruby Spears was in shock last month when she found out her principal at South Beauregard Lower Elementary,

Barbara Newman, had to work throughout the summer.

Spears, a visually-impaired student, attends school for one hour twice a week during the summer to help retain her Braille

skills. Newman said one day last month at school, Spears was telling her about her summer vacation plans.

“Ruby asked what I had been doing,” Newman said. “I said, ‘Well, Ruby, I don’t get the summer off. I have to work.’ Then she

said, ‘That’s unfair.’ It was so precious.”

What Newman didn’t know was that Spears

decided to take the “unfair” matter into her own hands. Spears went

back to her class

and she and her teacher, Roxanne Buller, wrote a letter in Braille

to Beauregard Parish School Board Superintendent Timothy

Cooley.

“I had no idea she was going to write a letter,” Newman said. “The letter simply said, ‘Dear Mr. Cooley, Please give Ms. Newman

some days off this summer. She works hard.’ ”

Cooley, who said this was the first Braille letter he had ever received from a student, responded and had his letter translated

to Braille. He said he thanked Spears for being such a good student and for being concerned for Newman.

Cooley also said he told Spears he would try to give Newman a few days off this summer so that she could enjoy some free time.

“We do appreciate her eagerness and willingness to learn and to make South Beauregard Elementary a positive place for students,

and we appreciate her caring for her principal and her school,” he said.

When Spears received his response, she read it to Newman herself. Newman said she was touched by Spears’ concern for her and

is amazed by all she can do.

“She is as sharp as a whip, and her

senses are so attuned,” Newman said. “She is learning and keeping up

with the other students.

She is so loved at our school.”

Newman also said she “jumped at the chance” to take a few days off thanks to Spears. She recently returned from a trip to

Arkansas and Tennessee.

Both Buller and Newman said that Spears, who will be starting second grade in the fall, has to work harder than most students.

“There is a lot to learn in Braille,” Buller said. “A blind child not only has to learn to read, but also has to learn to

read Braille code, which instead of being 26 letters like our alphabet, there are 260 characters that she has to learn.”

Buller said Spears always rises to any challenge and stays academically on grade level.

Buller said she and Spears recently returned from the annual National Federation of the Blind convention in Florida.

“This was Ruby’s first time to attend

the convention, and she was very excited,” Buller said. “She swam,

participated in everything

including all the meetings, a triathlon and a style show, and she

made lots of new blind friends. She is one special little

girl.”