Skip to main content

Maine student born without hands honored for penmanship

By Nina Raja, CNN
Click to play
Boy with no hands wins handwriting award
  • Fifth grader gets special award from publisher
  • National contest will now have category named after him
  • Maine boy was born without hands or lower arms

(CNN) -- Born without hands and lower arms, fifth-grader Nicholas Maxim received a unique award Monday for his participation in Zaner-Bloser's 20th annual National Handwriting Contest.

"We submitted his entry because we felt his penmanship was amazing considering he completes most of his work without using his prostheses," said Cheryl Hasenfus, Readfield Elementary School principal.

At those times, Nicholas writes by holding a pen or pencil between his upper arms.

On behalf of Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of educational materials, Hasenfus presented a trophy to Nicholas during a school assembly for his excellent penmanship. The school is in Readfield, Maine.

Boy learns to live without hands
Life without a limb
  • Disabilities
  • Education
  • Maine

Inspired by his ability, Zaner-Bloser decided to create a new award category in his honor: Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellent Penmanship

"When our team saw Nicholas' handwriting, we were just amazed," said Zaner-Bloser President Bob Page. "Since we started this contest 20 years ago, we've been pleased to get a great response that increases every year, and Nicholas inspired us to encourage all students to participate."

More than 200,000 students are waiting for the results of the competition. Winners will be announced at the International Reading Association Annual Convention on May 10 in Orlando, Florida. Zaner-Bloser estimates that more than 2.5 million students have participated in the contest during its history.