World

Girl, 7, without hands, wins US handwriting contest

People who see this American child might think she will have to face a lifetime of challenges.

Anaya Ellick, seven, was born with no hands and does not use prostheses.

But early this week, she won a handwriting contest in her school in Chesapeake, Virginia, CNN reported.

The Greenbrier Christian Academy first grade (equivalent to Primary One) pupil received the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship, a competition which promotes legible handwriting.

PRIZE

Anaya won US$1,000 (S$1,360) and a trophy. She reportedly beat 50 other competitors.

Her school was given a gift certificate to be spent on print and digital resources for students and teachers.

To write, Anaya holds a pencil between her arms and stands at her desk to get the right angle.

"Anaya is a remarkable young lady," said principal Tracy Cox.

"She does not let anything get in the way of doing what she has set out to do."

She is a vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady, Ms Cox added.

She is fairly independent at home, her parents told CNN affiliate WTKR.

Said mum Bianca Middleton: "She ties her shoes. She gets dressed by herself. She doesn't really need any assistance to do anything."

Anaya's penmanship was submitted in the category that encourages the participation of students with cognitive delays, or intellectual, physical or developmental disabilities, ABC News reported.

This category is judged by a team of occupational therapists.

Competition director Kathleen Wright told ABC News: "We looked at her writing and were just stunned to see how well her handwriting was...

"Her writing sample was comparable to someone who had hands."

Anaya's peers treat her no differently than other students and she keeps up with them, Greenbrier founder and superintendent Mr Ron H. White said.

He said: "I don't think Anaya thinks of it as an obstacle."

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