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First grader born without hands wins award for handwriting

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Anaya Ellick is just like most first graders. She ties her shoes and gets dressed by herself, her mother Bianca said.

But Anaya, a student at Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, is not like all her classmates.

Anaya was born without hands and does not use prosthetics.

Yet earlier this week she won a national handwriting contest.

Ellick holds her pencil in between her two arms and stands at her desk in order to have the proper angle for her to write.

"Anaya is a remarkable young lady. She does not let anything get in the way of doing what she has set out to do," principal Tracy Cox said.

Even at home Anaya is as independent as can be, according to her parents Bianca Middleton and Gary Ellick.

"She doesn't really need any assistance to do anything," Bianca said.

Bianca and Gary admit that seven years ago when they found out their first born daughter would be impaired, they didn't know what to expect.

"It was a shock as first," Gary said.

A shock that quickly turned to inspiration as their daughter grew to be a determined fighter. Anaya gives herself no limits and no excuses.

Writing and drawing may not be the easiest task for Anaya to do without hands, but it's a challenge she accepts and works with.

The national Handwriting Contest is an annual event sponsored by Zaner-Bloser to promote legible handwriting.

For winning the contest, Anaya receives $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.

"She is a hard worker and has some of the best handwriting in her class," said Cox.