The Short of It
A Virginia first-grade girl born without hands won a national handwriting competition.
Seven-year-old Anaya Ellick hasn't let her disability keep her from accomplishing big things. Even though she doesn't wear prosthetics, the girl won a national handwriting contest in a category for students with cognitive delays, or intellectual, physical or developmental disabilities. It was sponsored by education and literacy organization Zaner-Blose.
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"There is truly very little that this girl cannot do," Tracy Cox, principal at Anaya's school, Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, Va., told ABC News. "She is a hard worker. She is determined. She is independent. She is a vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady."
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So how does Anaya write? Incredibly, while standing at her desk, the first-grader uses her forearms to hold her pencil and produce penmanship that a team of occupational therapists determined was deserving of the top prize.
"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," the competition director, Kathleen Wright, says.
As the contest's first prize winner, Anaya won a trophy and a check for $1,000. But I'm guessing it must be the sense of accomplishment that is the best prize of all. Still, Ron H. White, Greenbrier founder and superintendent, says about Anaya not having hands, "I don't think Anaya thinks of it as an obstacle."
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What an inspiring little girl! I will definitely be sharing this story with my own 7-year-old the next time she thinks there's something she can't do. Heck, I will think back on Anaya's story the next time I am feeling any self-doubt! Congratulations, Anaya!