Some people are simply born exceptional, as this 11-year-old girl demonstrates. Anaya Ellick, then seven years old, won a national handwriting competition in 2016. She competed against 50 other children from across the country. But what makes her truly remarkable is that she accomplished this despite being born without hands.
“There is truly very little that this girl cannot do,” principal Tracy Cox of Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake told ABC News after mentioning that it was her who encouraged the youngster to enter the competition. “She is a hard worker,” the principal said. “She is determined. She is independent. She is a vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady.”
Anaya astonished everyone by writing in print handwriting using her forearms without utilizing any prosthetic limbs. Her penmanship, which was entered in a category that enables pupils with cognitive impairments, intellectual, physical, or developmental challenges to participate, astounded the judges.
A team of occupational therapists judged this category, and the winner received the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in 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 the news outlet. “Her writing sample was comparable to someone who had hands.”
On the school’s official website, Cox praised the child saying, “Anaya is an extraordinary young lady. Her tenacity continues to inspire all of us at GCA. Anaya’s well-earned first-place finish reminds us all of what determination and hard work can achieve. We are so proud of Anaya and her accomplishments.” And, according to Greenbrier founder and administrator Ron H. White, Anaya’s peers don’t regard her any differently than other children, and she keeps up with them. “I don’t think Anaya thinks of it as an obstacle,” he said.
But that wasn’t the only honor she received. In 2018, she won the Nicholas Maxim Award at the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest for the second time, demonstrating to everyone that patience can actually make a person successful. According to CBS Local, her cursive writing was a sight to behold. Anaya herself couldn’t believe she’d won again. “I was happy and I thought my mom was joking when she said I won again,” she told reporters.
According to Zaner-website, Bloser’s she earned a trophy and a $1,000 reward, as well as a gift certificate to spend on print and digital resources for kids and instructors, as reported by Telegraph UK.
“I’m proud because it inspires her,” her mother, Bianca Middleton, told CBS station WTKR. For her to understand that hard work pays off,” she added, adding that while others may have looked down on her daughter, they were left speechless when they witnessed her brilliance. “People always say ‘oh my gosh, she’s beyond her years in how she speaks, everything she does,” Anaya’s father, Gary Ellick, said his daughter never let her disability get in the way of her independence. “She’s really independent – from tying shoes, putting clothes, getting baths.”
Well, it appears that she can, and that she won’t have to chase success since, with her perspective, it will find her.