Seven-year-old Annie Clark from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was born without hands. But that didn't stop her from winning a national penmanship award for her beautiful handwriting.
Dressed in a cheerful canary yellow, Annie was presented with a trophy nearly half her size and a US$1,000 (S$1,246) cheque for winning the Nicolas Maxim award, the Daily Mail UK reported. The award, presented by educational publisher Zaner-Bloser to recognise special needs students, was named after a fifth-grader born without hands who entered the competition last year.
After collecting the prize, she showed off her penmanship skills, holding a pencil firmly wedged between her forearms.
Her teachers and family described her as a shy girl who is diligent and tenacious. Her teacher told Good Morning America that Annie takes pride in her writing and makes sure it's clear and concise. And despite her disability, she never falls behind in class and is a quick learner. Her father told the media that she is a determined girl who can feed and dress herself. "She can ride a bike. She swims. She is just determined and there's nothing she can't do," he said. She can even paint her toenails, he said.
Annie, who is Chinese by race, is the adopted child of Tom and Mary Clark. They have nine children in total, three of whom are biological and six are adopted from China. Four of the adopted kids have disabilities of their hands or arms, while two girls, including one biological, have Down syndrome. Her mother said she hopes the award will encourage her child to believe that she can 'do anything'.
STOMPer Gabe wrote:
"Wow, this story really touched my heart.
"Although Annie is only seven, you can tell that she has not let her disability get in the way of what she can and wants to achieve.
"Winning this award is truly impressive because what are the odds of a girl with no hands beating everyone else in the competition to emerge as having the best handwriting?
"A very inspirational story indeed -- it reminds us to be thankful for what we have and to not let small setbacks in life get us down so easily."
Pictures 1-11 in the gallery below are of Annie, while the other pictures are of people who have also overcome their disabilities to achieve great things