When 10-year-old Sara Hinesley first discovered cursive writing, "I thought it was easy." That's a testament to her attitude, as not much is easy for Sara—born without hands. "I just try my hardest," says the third-grader at St. John's Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Md., who just took home $500 as a winner in the 2019 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest, per CBS Baltimore. Sara, who writes by holding a pencil between the ends of her arms, received the Nicholas Maxim Award for excellence in cursive, given to a student with a disability or cognitive delay, per Good Morning America, which notes Sara spoke no English when she was adopted from China four years ago. "I felt proud and hope others who have challenges learn from me, that if you try your hardest you can do it," she tells CNN.
Her mother, Cathryn Hinesley, was hardly surprised by the award, which comes with a trophy to be handed out in June, plus $500 in educational materials for Sara's school. Though Hinesley says the family considered prosthetics, "really there is not a need" because Sara "can do just about anything—oftentimes better than me or my husband," per CNN. "She just figures out a way to complete every task." That said, Sara's sister Veronica did construct an artificial hand in science class so the pair could more easily play together. Otherwise, Sara spends her time watching TV, creating art, and—impressively—rock climbing. "Anytime I fail, I just keep doing it with Veronica cheering me on," Sara tells CBS. And "I can always get to the top." (A girl born without hands won the same award in 2016.)