"There is truly very little that this girl cannot do," said the principal of the school she goes to. And this girl's win proves that statement.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 20, 2020. It has since been updated.
Some people are just born extraordinary and this 11-year-old girl proves just that. In a 2016 national handwriting competition, Anaya Ellick, seven years old at the time, won against 50 other youngsters from around the country. But what is truly amazing about her is that she did that 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."
Without using any prosthetic limbs, Anaya chose to write in print handwriting with her forearms and stunned everyone. Her penmanship, submitted in the category that encourages the participation of students with cognitive delays, or intellectual, physical or developmental disabilities, surprised the judges.
This category was evaluated by a team of occupational therapists, and the winner is awarded 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 what determination and hard work can achieve. We are so proud of Anaya and her accomplishments.” And Anaya's peers don't see her differently than other students, and she keeps up with them, Greenbrier founder and superintendent Ron H. White told ABC News. "I don't think Anaya thinks of it as an obstacle," he said.
But that was not the only award she won. In 2018, during another Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest’s Nicholas Maxim Award, she once again bagged the award showing everyone that perseverance can truly make a person successful. Her cursive writing was a spectacle to see, according to CBS Local. Even Anaya couldn't believe that she had won again. “I was happy and I thought my mom was joking when she said I won again,” she told reporters. She was presented with a trophy and a $1,000 prize, according to Zaner-Bloser's website, reported Telegraph UK. Her school also received a gift certificate to be spent on print and digital resources for students and teachers.
Her mother, Bianca Middleton, told CBS-affiliate WTKR, “I’m proud because it encourages her. For her to see that hard work does pay off.” She also mentioned that though others looked down on her daughter, they were speechless when they saw her talent. "Out of this world, people always say 'Oh my gosh she is beyond her years how she speaks, everything that she does.'' Anaya’s father, Gary Ellick, said his daughter never let her disability dent her confidence. “She’s really independent – from tying shoes, putting clothes, getting baths. It was always like, ‘I can do it,'” he said.
Well, it seems like she really can and it looks like she won't have to run after success because, with her mindset, it will follow her.
Way to go, Anaya!
Cover Image Source: Greenbriar Christian Academy's Facebook