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Anaya, 7-year-old handless student won national handwriting competition


  • Anaya Ellick is a 7-year-old first grader from Greenbrier Christian Academy, Virginia
  • She was born handless
  • She beat 50 others competitors to win Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship

Anaya Ellick, a 7-year-old handless student won the national handwriting competition. She beats 50 brilliant competitors from around the country to win the prize. Anaya is a first-grade student from Greenbrier Christian Academy, Virginia. She was born handless to Bianca and Gary. Her parents were worried when they found out that she was born without hands.

Anaya writes with her arms
Image credit: ABC News

 ‘It was a shock as first,’ Gary told WTKR.

She was born handless, but they realized she was different. She was precocious, and a born fighter. Anaya tied her shoe herself and get ready by herself. She dressed by herself, bath herself. And she never complains. She always attempted to do everything herself without asking for help. Her parents become confident Anaya could overcome her impairment. In fact, She became an inspiration for them by how she managed to do everything despite her condition. Anaya learnt to used her arms to write instead of prosthetic at an early age.

Nicholas Maxim Special Award

Tracy Cox, Principal of Greenbrier Christian Academy entered Anaya for the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship. It is an annual event sponsored by Zaner-Bloser to promote legible handwriting. Cox entered Anaya in a category that encourages the participation of students with cognitive delays, or intellectual, physical or developmental disabilities.  There were 50 other students competing for the award. She “holds a pencil between her arms and stands at her desk to get the right angle for writing,” CNN reports. A team of occupational therapists judged them. When the judges saw her handwriting, it stunned them.

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 had hands.

Kathleen Wright, competition director

They gave Anaya Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship for winning the competition.  She received $1000 cash prize and a trophy.

Anaya Ellick's handwriting
Anaya’s handwriting

Response from teachers

“There is truly very little that this girl cannot do. She is hard working, determined and an independent girl. She is a vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady, principal Tracy Cox told ABC News.  Cox also said Anaya is the most hardworking student in the class. Despite her deficiency, she did not think it as an ‘obstacle’ superintendent of Greenbrier told ABC news.

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