Most people couldn’t win a handwriting contest with the use of their hands. But a 9-year-old girl in Chesapeake, Virginia, has done the impossible — won a handwriting contest without hands.

Even though third grader Anaya Ellick was born without hands, she’s never let that limit her. She is very independent — tying her own shoes, putting on her own clothes — and even exhibiting incredible penmanship. And in April, Anaya earned the Nicholas Maxim Award for Excellence in Cursive — an award given out by the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.

“Anaya does not let anything stand in her way of reaching her goals,” said Tracy Cox, a principal at Anaya’s school in Chesapeake, Virginia. “She is a hard worker and has some of the best handwriting in her class. Her determination is inspiring and contagious to all of us at Greenbrier Christian Academy.”

Anaya does not use prosthetics, and in order to write or draw, must hold the pencil between her two arms.

The Nicholas Maxim Award recognizes handwriting achievement among students with special needs. Students must have either a cognitive delay or an intellectual, physical, or developmental disability in order to be eligible, a press release from Zaner-Bloser said. The entries are then judged by occupational therapists.

Anaya entered the same contest two years ago and won for her print handwriting.

“I’m proud because it encourages her,” Anaya’s mother Bianca Middleton told WGN9. “For her to see that hard work does pay off.”

Congratulations, Anaya! You are an inspiration to all of us!

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