Child born without hands wins national penmanship award

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (CNN/WTKR) — Continuing to defy the odds–that’s what a Chesapeake student is doing through the stroke of her pencil.

“I’ll be able to do it if I try,” nine-year-old Anaya Ellick said.

Teachers at Greenbrier Christian Academy say Anaya will admit that she’s pretty quiet and shy.

But “Anaya is a role model to everyone,” third grader teacher Sara Cannaday explained.

You see, Anaya was born without hands. However, Wednesday morning she received a national award for her cursive handwriting.

“It wasn’t really hard,” she said.

But she did tell us her mom helped.

“She would help me form the letter.”

Anaya entered the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest under a special needs category.

The third grader doesn’t use prosthesis and has learned to hold a pencil between her two arms to write and draw.

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

Anaya first made headlines in 2016, when she won the award for her print writing.

“I was happy and I thought my mom was joking when she said I won again,” the third grader said.

Her parents say the nine-year-old hasn’t let her situation stop her from anything.

“She’s really independent – from tying shoes, putting clothes, getting baths,” Gary Ellick, Anaya’s father said. “It was always like ‘I can do it’. So, that just carried on over the years.”

Anaya told us sports might be the next thing she tackles.

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