Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is pleased to announce that Melissa Atkins from Troy has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she used computer programs to create sheet music in braille, then created an instructional website to help others learn the technique.
“I came up with the idea of this project because I was upset that a visually impaired student who was interested in music could not participate in band and choir class,” she said.
Atkins first imported music into Finale composing software – both through scanning sheet music and having pianists play music into the program. She meticulously compared the new digital copy of the music with the original to correct any errors. She then used an additional software program, Lime, to add lyrics for choral music. Next, she converted the files to braille using the software program, Duxbury. She then printed the music using a special braille printer that her school owned. After printing music for the band and choir concerts for the year, she organized the files into binders. Last, she created a guide and taught several students and faculty members how to repeat the process, so braille music can be produced after she graduates. To help more visually impaired people pursue their interests in music, she created a website sharing detailed instructions on creating braille sheet music. This website was shared with multiple organizations she thought would find it helpful and promoted through social media.
Atkins said that her Girl Scout Gold Award project helped reinforce her plans to become a music educator in the future, as well as helped her develop new confidence and skills.
“I gained leadership and communication skills while completing my Girl Scout Gold Award project,” she said. “The main thing I learned about myself through this process is how relentless I am when trying to achieve an important goal.”
Atkins is the daughter of Diane Atkins and Harold Atkins. She is currently a senior at Triad High School and plans to pursue a degree in music education after graduation.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn,
recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops
skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life.
To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout
Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need
within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable. The
project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of
work. Only about 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious