Friday, April 20, 2012

Handwriting without hands

Kennebec Journal

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Last year at this time, Nicholas Maxim (1st image) - then a 10-year-old in the 5th grade at Readfield Elementary School in Maine - was making news by winning a penmanship award despite being born without hands (more photos and sample here). His teachers submitted his entry to a national handwriting contest held each year by Zaner-Bloser and the Ohio-based company was so inspired by his story that they established the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellent Penmanship. They honored him by presenting the trophy at a school-wide assembly, but his buddy Quinn Hyland was not surprised by the accolade. "His handwriting is better than most of the people here. I've probably heard him say I can't like once or twice. But it's not something he can't do, it's just something he needs permission to do." Nick writes using his forearms to hold the pencil without the benefit of his prostheses. "He is who he is and does what he does not to get attention," says his sister, Sarah.

This year, the honor - designated for a student with a cognitive delay or intellectual, physical, or developmental disability - has been given to 7-year-old 1st grader Annie Clark (2nd image). She is one of 8 adopted Chinese siblings and is enrolled at the Wilson Christian Academy in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. "I think about doing words and spelling [but have] learned to go slow," says Annie (video and sample here).

Neat penmanship is something I'm sure Trish Vickers of Charmouth, West Dorset, U.K., is glad she has. She lost her sight 7 years ago, but just finished writing 26 pages of her first novel by hand. It was not until she asked her son to read it back to her that she learned that the pages were blank - her pen had run out of ink. They called staff in the fingerprint bureau of the Dorset Police who volunteered their time to reveal the missing words by using a crime light to enhance the indentations. "Fortunately apart from one line we managed to retrieve the whole lot. It was nice to do something good for somebody and it was nice to read the book as well," said one of the officers (video here).

1 comment:

  1. What an inspiration! It goes to show that you can do anything.


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