Perkins School for the Blind
Perkins Insight Issue IV

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Annual Holiday Family Concerts

Photo. Student playing handbells

Enjoy the following groups:
The Music Makers
The Upper School Chorus
Chamber Singers
The Handbell Ensemble
Various vocal soloists

December 13th
7:30 PM
December 16th
3:00 PM

Dwight Hall
Howe Building
175 North Beacon St.

These concerts are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Visit us online to see What's New at Perkins!

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Photo. Student working on his holiday card 

Lower School Holiday Card Program

Even before the days get chilly and the leaves start changing on the Perkins campus, art teacher Rocky Tomascoff and her students are thinking about the holidays. As soon as school starts, Rocky asks some of her students in the Lower School to participate in a contest to design the official Perkins holiday card, a program that has been thriving since 1985.

“It’s important despite their limitations, that  students have the chance to be creative with their ideas and to use different materials to create some wonderful artwork,” says Rocky. “They drive the process, and it is amazing what they come up with.”

Learn more about the holiday program.

Send a FREE holiday eCard featuring student artwork to your friends and family today or see below to order printed cards from our online store.


Holiday Cards Featuring Student Artwork
2 designs available!

Student Artwork. White snowflakes on a blue background

Snowflake cards are sure to warm hearts on those chilly days. Includes a quote from the student artist, "Snowflakes are frosty covered rain. They are quiet, different, and very pretty."

Student Artword. A cup of cocoa in front of a roaring fire.

Or get into the holiday spirit with Home for the Holidays cards. The student artist quote says, "On my Christmas vacation, I like to drink hot cocoa in front of the fireplace." 

Each design is $12.95 for pack of 10, including envelopes.

Visit our website to order yours today!


Please visit our website for more information on:

Braille & Talking Book Library
Blind and Visually Impaired Clearinghouse
Community Programs
International Programs
On Campus Programs
Professional Development


As 2007 comes to a close, we are happy to reflect on all the wonderful accomplishments Perkins has enjoyed.
But we know there is still much work to be done. At this special time of year, we hope you will consider making a gift so that we can continue to serve over 90,000 people on campus, in the community and in 61 countries around the world.
With your support, at Perkins,
all we see is possibility.
Visit our website to make a gift today.


Arts at Perkins... a driving force for self expression

Photo. Student working with teacher on a clay sculptureAs visitors walk through the halls of Perkins, they are often drawn to the sounds of the chorus practicing in the chapel or a student playing beautiful classical piano music in Dwight Hall. They may also be struck by the sight and texture of a large swirl of brightly colored beads that adorn the walls of the Hilton Building, home of the Deafblind Program, or by a group of high school students who are practicing an original play in the auditorium. The arts are everywhere at Perkins.

The arts enrich all of our lives. Regardless of whether a student is blind or visually impaired, deafblind or has additional disabilities, the arts play a critical role in building confidence, self esteem, and learning meaningful concepts and skills.

The arts are much more than creating a final product to take home to their families. In addition to developing cognitive and physical skills, the process of creating music and art pushes students’ limits, stretches their imaginations, gives them a chance for self-expression and another means of communication. Whether it is through an art class in school, music therapy, or through Outreach's theater program where students can act and sing on stage, students are not only learning new skills, they are given precious opportunities to have a voice in the world around them.

Happy Holidays from Perkins!

Click here to send a Perkins Holiday eCard


2 x 10 Campaign: Help Address the Unmet Needs of Adults who are Blind in Massachusetts

Over 35,000 people in Massachusetts are registered as legally blind. This does not account for those who are unregistered or who have severe vision loss but do not qualify as legally blind. The unmet needs among this group are many. A survey conducted by UMASS Lowell showed that:

  • 77% of blind residents under the age of 65 are unemployed 
  • 41% of blind residents identify transportation as their greatest problem 
  • Only 18% of blind residents use a computer
  • 38% of blind adults have limited social and recreational lives because of their vision

To address these issues, Perkins has partnered with seven other agencies to develop a plan to make improvements in service, with the goal of increasing self-sufficiency, independence, economic growth and training for individuals who are blind. Called the 2 x 10 Campaign, we are advocating that Massachusetts designate an additional $2 million by 2010 to address specific unmet needs.

If you are a Massachusetts resident and would like to show your support for the 2 x 10 Campaign, visit our website to send an email message to these decision makers: Governor Deval Patrick, Dr. JudyAnn Bigby (Secretary of Health & Human Services) and Leslie A. Kirwan (Secretary of Administration & Finance).


Where in the World is Perkins?

Photo. Student and teacher drummingThe Hilton/Perkins Program has supported the on-going development of the Deafblind Centre in Mampong, Ghana, West Africa. In fact, three staff members from the Centre have studied for a year at Perkins through the Educational Leadership Program (ELP).

The Centre's arts and crafts curriculum engages students during each stage of their academic career, is closely linked to local culture and customs, and provides vocational training. Younger students learn basic weaving and how to make gift bags from recycled paper and jewelry using glass beads from Ghana. Older students learn more advanced weaving and the traditional art form of tie and dye to create patterns on fabric that will be made into clothing, table cloths and other items, which will ultimately be sold to help sustain this program.

Another exciting aspect of the Centre's arts curriculum focuses on music, specifically drumming. Upon the return of a Perkins ELP program participant, a new music and dance class was introduced. All students and staff actively participate in this class by taking turns dancing, playing the drums, and shaking maracas, bringing the dance and drumming to the Centre and helping students participate in the local culture.

The Centre is slowly increasing local awareness of the capabilities of these students as they participate in community arts and crafts activities as well as drumming events across the country.


Seeing what I feel at the MFA

Photo. Student touching artwork at the MFA, Boston.This fall, art works created by students at Perkins School for the Blind, were exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA).

Over the past year, students visited the museum several times to work with guides from "A Feeling for Form," a program in which participants with visual impairments are allowed to touch certain objects and learn about others through audio description and tactile models. Back at school, the students created artworks based on what they learned at the MFA.

Fifteen secondary school students did paintings, created sculptures and constructed masks and reliefs. Perkins teacher Terri Werner, working with Hannah Goodwin of the MFA, helped the students create an exhibit complete with audio accounts of what inspired them. The program has had a powerful impact on the students. One student says of his visits, "They do change the way I look at art. Before I went to the MFA, art was just something to do, but [now] it's really something I like to do. Making things is kind of relaxing; it's really peaceful…"

Visit our "Seeing What I Feel" photo gallery.

Secondary Student wins 2007Joyce Walsh Disability Award from the National Federation of Music Clubs

Photo. Andy Park pictured with his mother, teacher and NFMC President

Andrew Park was awarded the NFMC Joyce Walsh Award at a national convention in Salt Lake City earlier this year. Andy showed his musical ability at an early age with the violin. He also plays piano, organ, studies braille music, sings in the chorus, rings handbells and plays the clarinet.  Pictured from left to right in the photo above are, Perkins Music Teacher, Adele Trytko, National Federation of Music Clubs President, Elizabeth Paris, Andy Park and Andy's mother, Mi Y. Koo. 

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Perkins School
for the Blind
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472
Phone 617-924-3434
Email Us