First Grader Born Without Hands Wins National Handwriting Contest: 'We Were Stunned,' Says Judge
"There is truly very little that this girl cannot do," Greenbrier Christian Academy principal, Tracy Cox, told ABC News
Virginia first grader Anaya Ellick was born without hands – but that didn’t stop her from winning a national handwriting contest.
Balancing a pencil between her wrists, the 7-year-old demonstrated near-perfect penmanship to win Zaner-Bloser‘s competitive Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship.
“We looked at her writing and were just stunned to see how well her handwriting was, considering she writes without hands. Her writing sample was comparable to someone who has hands,” competition director Kathleen Wright told ABC News.
The Greenbrier Christian Academy student, who doesn’t use prosthetics, beat out 50 entries with her neatly crafted sentence, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
“She definitely is one determined little girl,” Anaya’s first-grade teacher, Joan Stalnaker, told The Virginian-Pilot.
Greenbrier Christian Academy principal, Tracy Cox, urged Anaya to enter the contest, which is open to children in kindergarten to eighth grade.
“There is truly very little that this girl cannot do,” Cox told ABC News.
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“She is a hard worker. She is determined. She is independent. She is vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady,” she added.
Anaya’s writing sample was submitted for the Nicholas Maxim Award, which accepts entries from students that have “a cognitive delay, or an intellectual, physical or developmental disability,” reports NPR.
From a young age, Anaya figured out how to use forks, play with building blocks and tie her shoes with no hands.
Anaya’s mother, Bianca Middleton, says she is inspired by her daughter’s strength and resilience.
“She helps teach me things I take for granted every day. I look at her life, ‘Wow, she’s not complaining, never complains,’ ” Middleton told ABC.