Anaya Ellick was born without hands, but that does not stop her from taking on challenges. In a recent national handwriting contest, she beat many other children from across the US to emerge victorious.
The seven-year-old first grader, who studies at Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, Virginia, does not use prosthetic arms or fingers, but uses her forearms to hold a pen or pencil to write.
Ellick won the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship in the National Handwriting Contest sponsored by education company Zaner-Bloser. The annual contest aims at promoting legible writing among schoolchildren. Ellick took part in the special needs category, which involves participants with a cognitive delay, or an intellectual, physical, or developmental disability.
"Anaya is a remarkable young lady. She does not let anything get in the way of doing what she has set out to do," her principal, Tracy Cox, said. "She is a hard worker and has some of the best handwriting in her class. Her determination is an inspiration to all of us at GCA," she added.
Ellick reportedly holds a pencil between her two arms and stands at her desk to get the proper angle needed for writing. Contest director Kathleen Wright told NPR that the judges were "just stunned" by the quality of Ellick's writing. "Her writing sample was comparable to someone who had hands," Wright said. A spokesman from Zaner-Bloser told NPR that about 50 participants took part in this year's contest.
An inspiration for many, Ellick is independent in her usual chores even at home, her parents told CNN affiliate WTKR. "She ties her shoes. She gets dressed by herself. She doesn't really need any assistance to do anything," her mother, Bianca Middleton, was quoted as telling WTKR.
Ellick received $1,000 (£693) and a trophy for winning the national contest, according to CNN.