Loik Charles, a remarkable 26-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, became the first blind person to ever receive a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), in the United States.
Dominican-born Loik Charles experienced difficulties as a child that caused him to lose his vision. He described how he was prematurely born with cataracts and over-oxygenated by medical professionals.
“The membranes behind my eyes were so damaged by the interaction of these two. I was informed that I was not born blind,” he told Dominica News.
Despite having disabilities, Loik Charles persevered in life and graduated from high school with an amazing grade. He continued to the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in arts with a minor in marketing and sociology.
“I’m extremely happy and pleased right now. I’ve been putting a lot of effort into it, and I’m grateful that God has allowed me to witness the day when I was able to close this chapter of my life,” he added.
According to Loik Charles, his difficulties do not diminish his abilities, making him no different from everyone else. “You know, I am just like everyone else. I can’t see like everyone else, but that’s really not a huge problem,” he stated.
Loik Charles said that through using technology, he was able to learn in both high school and college. He said, “I went to school with my laptop, which has a unique program on it called Jaws.
As I type, the machine repeats back my words word for word and letter for letter. A student would be seated next to me in class taking notes and relaying them to me at the same time, or the instructor would dictate what they were writing on the board, the student said.
Loik Charles expressed his gratitude to God for guiding him through all of his difficulties to the point where he could earn a bachelor’s degree. He remarked, “God was always on time and he always came through in some fashion.
Loik Charles is eager to use what he has learned to benefit the young people in his neighborhood. “I would love to apply what I have learned to our society and educate and influence the young people in the areas of community leadership skills and just generally being a mentor, a counselor, and assisting them in terms of academics and in the other areas. I won’t be able to do much, but I’ll find plenty of resources to help,” he remarked.
Loik Charles stated that additional work possibilities for individuals with disabilities need to be created by the public and private sectors.
He told everyone who had a disability that they were God’s special choice. We are all here for a reason because God put us here. Never restrict your potential, and don’t let someone get inside your head and make you think otherwise about who you are and what your mission is.
Charles’ accomplishment makes him the university’s first-ever blind graduate. He also won multiple prizes from the National Youth Council (NYCD), the Ministry of Education, the Bureau of Gender Affairs, and other organizations.
Soon, he intends to earn a master’s degree.
CTA on Loik Charles’s Story
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