CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A 9-year-old Virginia student continues to defy the odds through the stroke of her pencil.
Anaya, who was born without hands and doesn't use a prosthesis, received a national award for her cursive handwriting Wednesday.
“It wasn’t really hard,” she told WTKR.
Anaya entered the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest under a special needs category.
“I’m proud because it encourages her,” Anaya’s mother Bianca Middleton said. “For her to see that hard work does pay off.”
The third grader has learned to hold a pencil between her two arms to write and draw.
Teachers at Greenbrier Christian Academy say Anaya is pretty quiet and shy, but that doesn't stop the third grader from inspiring those around her.
“Anaya is a role model to everyone,” teacher Sara Cannaday explained.
Anaya entered and won in 2016 as well – that time for her print writing.
“I was happy and I thought my mom was joking when she said I won again,” the third grader said.
Her parents say the 9-year-old hasn’t let her situation stop her from anything.
“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 tackles.