7-Year-Old Student Born Without Hands Wins National Award for Penmanship

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 5, 2016   |   3:27PM   |   Washington, DC

In a society that often tells people with special needs that they can’t, a first grader is proving that she can.

Anaya Ellick, a 7-year-old from Chesapeake, Virginia, was born without hands, but this month she defied the odds and won a national penmanship award, according to ABC 13 News Now.

To write, Anaya holds a pencil between her arms and stands up to get the right angle on the paper, the report explained. She does not use prosthetics.

Her principal, Tracy Cox at Greenbrier Christian Academy, praised the 7-year-old as a hard worker.

“Anaya is a remarkable young lady. She does not let anything get in the way of doing what she has set out to do,” Cox said.


Anaya is the winner of the 2016 Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship, which is part of the National Handwriting Competition. The division of the contest that Anaya entered is specifically for students who have some sort of a disability.

Anaya’s mother, Bianca Middleton, told the news station that people are constantly impressed by her daughter’s talents.

“Out of this world, people always say ‘oh my gosh she is beyond her years how she speaks, everything that she does,’” Middleton said.

In 2012, a young Pittsburgh girl named Annie Clark who also was born without hands was the first winner of the penmanship award, LifeNews reported. The 7-year-old’s parents adopted her from China, where babies with disabilities often are considered unwanted and unadoptable.

Mary Ellen Clark, Annie’s mom, told the Associated Press that she hopes Annie’s award encourages her daughter that “she can do anything.”

These amazing little girls are encouraging others, too. In a culture where parents often face pressure to abort unborn babies with disabilities, their stories help people to recognize the value of people with special needs.

“Children like little Annie Clark give us just a glimpse of what we are missing in aborting so many children with disabilities,” LifeNews columnist Andrew Bair wrote in 2012.