by Laurie Noble, Paul Hernandez and Grace Oshiro

We considered ourselves lucky. We'd been in the image technology business for 20-some years, not just getting by but doing well. So when the contract from the state of California to enlarge textbooks for visually impaired students in our public schools came through, we were ready for a new vision and jumped in wholeheartedly.

We developed custom software to automate our production system and enhance quality. Cost, always a factor, was addressed with a new completely automated version, which reduced the price to a fraction of the old manual processes. We soon found ourselves enlarging books for the school system in Texas, then Maryland and North Carolina. Our list of customers continued to grow and we knew that our hard work was paying off. But as with all endeavors, the human element is all important and so we decided to get a little closer to the people whose lives are touched by the everyday work that we do.

We made a visit to one of Sacramento's most venerable institutions, C.K. McClatchy High School, a public school in the heart of Sacramento. There, we met with Kay Rogge, an itinerant special education teacher serving the needs of about 24 students with varying disabilities. A veteran of the public school system, Kay critiqued our ideas with the authority of a teacher with hard-won knowledge. She took us back in time and gave us some insight into the challenges that a visually impaired high school student faces.

Our time with Kay passed quickly. We were nearing the end of our appointment when Nicole, a visually impaired student, came strolling in for her session with Kay. We showed her several large-print books, eager for some firsthand impressions. Nicole, a bubbly, long-haired senior, was upbeat and bursting with honesty! She nixed some ideas and gave praise for others. "Oh, that hardbound book is too heavy. I'm not carrying that in my backpack!" she said.

Shyly, she told us she would be graduating this year and planned on going on to one of our local junior colleges, making her not only the first to graduate from high school in her family, but also the first to contemplate college. It was apparent that Nicole was rising above her disability and looking ahead to a full life. It felt good to know we were players in that promising life. We watched as student and teacher, sitting side by side, joked and laughed with each other and we knew we were privy to an exchange normally reserved for just the two of them; and somehow, sitting down back at the office, the laughter fresh in our minds, the work went just a little easier.

Imtrek Corporation, founded in 1982, is owned by Laurie Noble and Paul Hernandez. On-site services include large print reproduction and electronic document archiving and management. For more information, call toll-free 1- 800-965-PRINT (77468), or (916) 927-5313, or view the web site at [spell]

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