Girl Born With No Hands Wins National Handwriting Competition

This girl proves that hard work and determination can let you do anything you set your mind to.

Anaya Ellick was born with no hands. But the 9-year-old who is a third grader at Greenbrier Christian Academy in Virginia doesn’t let that stop her.


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Anaya uses her forearms to write and she was only a year old when her grandmother taught her to steady a pencil between her two wrists. As she grew older, she tried using prostheses but according to her mother, Bianca Middleton, they would only hinder rather than help her.

“She didn’t want them anymore. She had already started learning how to do different things without them. She learned to write and draw without them,” Bianca said.


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Anaya first won an award for her print writing last year. Impressed by her skill, teachers and family members encouraged her to join a much difficult contest: cursive handwriting.

So this year, she entered the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest under the special needs category and took home the grand prize.


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After winning the contest, her mother said that joining these contests encourages Anaya and lets her see that hard work does pay off.

Writing isn’t the only thing that Anaya has learned to do for herself. In fact, her father said that “she is very independent and can dress herself and tie her own shoelaces.” Her parents said that she hasn’t let her situation stop her from doing what she wants to do. In fact, Anaya said that the next challenge she’s planning to overcome is sports.

Her third-grade teacher, Sara Cannaday, expressed that though the 9-year-old is always shy in class, she continues to be a role model to everyone. She said, “The biggest thing Anaya has taught our class is that there are no excuses.”