Success Story January 28, 2020 at 11:30 am

Ayana Ellick, the 9-year-old without hands who won two national handwriting awards

Mohammed Awal January 28, 2020 at 11:30 am

January 28, 2020 at 11:30 am | Success Story

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Nine-year-old Ayana Ellick was born without hands. But she wouldn’t allow her disability to determine her personality.

A look at Ellick presents one with a child who will be met with a lifetime of challenges. Another gaze at the third-grader would have, however, reveal something else – a package of inspiration for many like her.

In 2018, Ellick participated in the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest, entering under a special needs category.

Despite her glaring disabilities, Ellick won the penmanship prize for her flawless cursive writing. 

Zaner-Bloser is an Ohio-based company that published research-based handwriting, reading, writing, spelling and vocabulary programs. 

Each year, Zaner-Bloser hosts a “National Handwriting Contest” for youth across the U.S. 

The competition has four categories: Manuscript, Cursive for Grades 3-4, Cursive for Grades 5-8 and The Nicholas Maxim Award for Special Needs Children.

The Nicholas Maxim Award was named after a former contest participant from Maine, who like Anaya, was born without hands but possessed immense handwriting talent.

Before winning the  Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest, Ellick who doesn’t use prosthetics stunned the nation when at the age of seven as a first grader won the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship.

Born in 2009 in Virginia to Bianca and Gary, Ellick surmounted her disabilities and stylishly stunned the nation as two national honors winner for her astonishingly extraordinary writing skills.

According to steemit, Ellick taught herself how to write by holding the pencil between her two lower arms and remaining at her desk area to get the ideal angle for her to write easily.

Her parents likewise uncovered that Ellick showed herself how to write as well as learned to tie her shoes, prepared herself for school and endeavored to do things herself even before requesting help.

“It wasn’t really hard,” she told WTKR. “I was happy and I thought my mom was joking when she said I won again.”

For winning the contest, Anaya gets $1,000 and a trophy, according to Zaner-Bloser’s website. Her school won too, as the company awarded it a gift certificate to be spent on print and digital resources for students and teachers.

“Anaya is a role model to everyone,” Sara Cannaday, a teacher for the third grade, said.

Bianca Middleton, Ellick’s mother said she is proud of her daughter’s feat.”I’m proud because it encourages her… For her to see that hard work does pay off,” Middleton said.

“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 WTKR that sports might be the next thing she’s going to venture into.


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