Anaya Ellick, 9-Year-Old Girl Born Without Hands Has Won The National Handwriting Contest…Twice!

by Gee NY
Anaya Ellick

In a remarkable display of determination and skill, nine-year-old Anaya Ellick from Virginia has captured national attention by winning the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest not once, but twice.

Born without hands, Anaya defied the odds by mastering both cursive and print handwriting, earning the prestigious Nicholas Maxim Award in 2018 for her cursive writing and previously winning the award for her print handwriting in 2016.

What makes Anaya’s achievement even more remarkable is that she does not use prosthetic hands. Instead, she learned to hold a pencil and write using both of her forearms, showcasing her exceptional adaptability and resilience.

Anaya’s teachers and family members have been vocal in their admiration for her accomplishments.

Sara Cannaday, Anaya’s third-grade teacher, described her as a role model for everyone. Anaya’s mother, Bianca Middleton, expressed pride in her daughter’s determination and noted how winning the award serves as encouragement for Anaya to continue striving for excellence.

“I’m proud because it encourages her. For her to see that hard work does pay off,” Bianca Middleton reporters.

Anaya’s father, Gary Ellick, emphasized his daughter’s independence and confidence, highlighting her ability to tackle various tasks without hesitation. From tying shoes to getting dressed, Anaya has always approached challenges with a can-do attitude.

When asked about her reaction to winning the award for the second time, Anaya expressed joy and disbelief, initially thinking her mother was joking when she heard the news.

“I was happy and I thought my mom was joking when she said I won again,” Anaya told reporters in 2018.

Looking ahead, Anaya revealed that she has her sights set on sports as her next endeavor, further demonstrating her unwavering determination to conquer new challenges.

Anaya’s remarkable story serves as an inspiration to people of all ages, showcasing the power of perseverance and the belief that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Now in its 33rd year, the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest crowned its 2024 grand champions on Monday, April 1, rewarding nine students from six states for their picture-perfect letters.

Ten-year-old Zita Miller of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, took top honors in the fifth-grade category. Her winning submission was one of the contest’s 80,000 entries.

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