7-year-old girl without hands wins national penmanship award

© ABC News
Young Anaya Ellick “stunned” the judges with her handwriting — especially since she has no hands. Using her forearms to write, Ellick won an award for top penmanship among 50 contestants from around the US.

Ellick, 7, won the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship at the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. The Maxim award is reserved for children with physical or developmental challenges. A judge for the contest said the panel marveled at Ellick's penmanship.

"We looked at her writing and were just stunned to see how well her handwriting was, considering she writes without hands," competition director Kathleen Wright told ABC News. "Her writing sample was comparable to someone who had hands."

A resident of Chesapeake, Virginia, Ellick does not use prosthetics to write, but rather holds a pencil between her arms. "She ties her shoes, she gets dressed by herself, she doesn't really need any assistance to do anything," her mother, Bianca Middleton, told WTKR.

The young girl does not think of her lack of hands as obstacle, the superintendent of Ellick's school, Greenbrier Christian Academy, told the New York Daily News.

Ellick received $1,000 in prize money for her top finish.

"She is a hard worker," said Tracy Cox, principal of Greenbrier, told ABC News. "She is determined. She is independent. She is a vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady."