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First-grader born without hands wins penmanship award

Anaya Ellick earned the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence

Overcoming obstacles is no big deal for Anaya Ellick, who was born without hands and does not use prosthetics.

The first-grader at Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, Virginia, beat out 300,000 other grade-school students in a contest that chooses students with the best handwriting.

The Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship is part of the 2016 National Handwriting Competition, sponsored by Zaner-Bloser, an education company. The competition promotes teaching children legible handwriting.

How does she do it?

Anaya holds her pencil between her two arms and stands up at her desk to get the right angle to write.

“It was the first time that I have ever had a student like this, but I was very shocked at everything she can do, from cutting to gluing to writing,” Joan Stalnaker, Anaya’s teacher, told WVEC news.

“It may be different. It may be hard. The road may be long, but she will persevere,” Bianca Middleton, Anaya’s mom, said.

There are no limits to what Anaya can do.

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.