9-Year-Old Girl Wins National Handwriting Competition – Without Hands!

(Photo credit: Instagram)

A Virginia third-grader has won two national awards for her exceptional skill in handwriting–one in 2016 and now one in 2018. That’s pretty remarkable on its own — except there’s also the fact she was born without hands!

Not only does Anaya Ellick have some of the neatest handwriting in her class according to her school’s principal, Anaya’s handwriting is some of the best in the country. The 9-year-old first grader at Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, Virginia, won the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship — twice!

“We looked at her writing and were just stunned to see how well her handwriting was, considering she writes without hands,” Kathleen Wright, director of the National Handwriting Contest sponsored by education company Zaner-Bloser, told ABC News. Wright added, “Her writing sample was comparable to someone who had hands.”

Anaya Ellick

Anaya was born without hands and chooses not to use prostheses. Bianca Middleton, Anaya’s mom, told WKTR news that her daughter has always been independent. “She ties her shoes. She gets dressed by herself. She doesn’t really need any assistance to do anything.”

To write, Anaya stands at her desk and uses her forearms to hold a pencil.

Anaya Ellick

Example of Anaya’s 2016 entry

Gary Ellick, Anaya’s father, shared with WKTR that “It was a shock at first” when he and Bianca learned their daughter would be born impaired. But, now years later, Anaya’s fierce determination has transformed that shock to pure inspiration.

Tracy Cox, the principal at Ananya’s school, Greenbrier Christian Academy, told ABC News it was her idea for Anaya to enter the contest in 2016.

“She is a hard worker,” Cox told ABC News. “She is determined. She is independent. She is a…