Third grade students in classrooms around the country are getting lessons on cursive handwriting, and one student’s penmanship stands out as a first-place winner in a national writing competition.
“To me, I thought I would have a really good chance at winning,” said competitor, Sara Hinesley.
But even more remarkable is that 10-year-old Hinesley was born without hands.
“I knew that I was different from the others, but I also knew that to me, I don’t feel like I have a difference,” Hinesley explained.
Hinesley represented her third grade class in the special needs division of the annual Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.
One student from every grade level at St. John Regional Catholic School moves onto compete at the competition that took place in mid-February.
“I mean, looking at her handwriting, it could have been entered in the regular competition because she’s just so meticulous with her writing,” said principal at St. John Regional Catholic School, Karen Smith.
During the competition, students were tasked with writing their first and last name and answering the question of why they like cursive.
“I like the way that the letters form and that it’s easy to move. The goal is to try your best and not to have too many erase marks, which is kind of difficult for many kids,” Hinesley said.
She says she’s never felt different from any of her friends or peers. She credits that to the guidance and help from her older sister, Veronica.
“She would help me with things that I can’t do. For a science fair she made an artificial hand that I could use,” Hinesley explained.
And to other kids around the county who also have unique experiences growing up, Hinesley says advised “to never give up on what you’re trying to do and preserve through difficulties.”
Hinesley says this summer she and her sister hope to launch a design company with proceeds going to kids with special needs.