A first-grader from Chesapeake, Virginia, won a national handwriting award this week—no small feat considering she was born without hands. "We looked at her writing and were just stunned to see how well her handwriting was," the competition's director tells ABC News. CNN reports 7-year-old Anaya Ellick was born without hands and has so far foregone prosthetics. "Anaya is a remarkable young lady," says her principal at Greenbrier Christian Academy, Tracy Cox. "She does not let anything get in the way of doing what she has set out to do." It was Cox's idea for Anaya to enter the handwriting competition. Anaya went on to beat dozens of students from around the country to win the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship.
The award, which came with a trophy and $1,000 prize, is given to students with mental and physical disabilities. But Anaya's handwriting is comparable to many students writing without any handicaps. In fact, Cox tells WTKR that Anaya has "some of the best handwriting in her class." To write, Anaya holds a pencil between her arms and stands to get a better angle. Her parents, at first worried about their daughter, are now inspired by her. "She ties her shoes, she gets dressed by herself, she doesn't really need any assistance to do anything," Anaya's mother, Bianca Middleton, tells WTKR.