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CHESAPEAKE, VA (CBS Local) – A child winning two national penmanship awards is impressive. The fact that Anaya Ellick has done it after being born with no hands makes the accomplishment even more special.
The 9-year-old from Virginia just won the 2018 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest’s Nicholas Maxim Award. The third-grader’s cursive handwriting was chosen as the nation’s best among students with special needs. Anaya does not use prosthetic hands and has learned to hold a pencil using both of her forearms.
In 2016, Anaya won the same award for her print writing while in the first grade.
“Anaya is a role model to everyone,” third grade teacher Sara Cannaday said, via WTKR.
“I was happy and I thought my mom was joking when she said I won again,” Anaya told reporters.
The 9-year-old added that she may try participating in sports next.
“I’m proud because it encourages her,” Anaya’s mother Bianca Middleton told WTKR. “For her to see that hard work does pay off.”
Anaya’s father, Gary Ellick, added that his daughter has always been confident in her abilities despite her disability.
“She’s really independent – from tying shoes, putting clothes, getting baths. It was always like ‘I can do it,” he says.