If we have the determination and perseverance to be successful, nothing can stop us, even our disability.
This is what a 10-year-old girl from Maryland has proven when she won the national handwriting contest. It might sound like nothing special, but it was something to be proud of for Sara Hinesley.
Sara attends St. John Regional Catholic School in Frederick Maryland. She recently won the Nicholas Maxim Award during the 2019 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest for cursive writing. This award is given to students with cognitive delay, or for intellectual, physical or developmental disability.
What made her special is that Sara was born with no hands!
She said, “The things I can’t do, I try to figure out the ways I can do it and try my best to make it work.” She also told GMA that she felt excited and proud of earning the award. Aside from the trophy, she also received prize money and some educational materials that she would need for school.
Sara was born in China. She was adopted by an American family four years ago. While she was growing up, she developed her own writing method. She would grip the pen or pencil using both of her arms.
Aside from her amazing handwriting skills, she also enjoys making art, watching TV, and playing. Sara has a very supportive family. Her sister Veronica even built an artificial hand for her so that she and Sara would be able to play together. The sisters would also go rock-climbing together. She shared that every time she falls, she would continue on doing it. Her sister would also cheer her on which gave her the confidence to get to the top.
This positive attitude is also what she takes with her handwriting as well as other academic work. “I just try my hardest and put my mind to it and this is what happens.” She never backs down to any challenge that comes her way. According to her mom, Cathryn Hinesley, Sara is a very motivated and disciplined student. “She excels really at about anything she tries,” she said.
During her interview with CBS Baltimore, she expressed that winning that award was kind of hard but there are times that it was also easy for her. But this occasional difficulty did not stop her from aiming to win. She explained, “I think it’s kind of hard — well sometimes easy and sometimes kind of hard — cause you don’t really remember all the letters to write.”
Her school principal, Karen Smith, also expressed how proud she is of her student. Her teacher, Cheryl Churilla, also shared with Washington Post that she never heard from Sara saying that ‘she can’t.’ “She’s a little rock star. She tackles absolutely everything you can throw at her, and she gives it her best,” Churilla added.
Her mom added, “She has this independent streak where she just knows that she can do it and she’ll figure out her own way.” Sara is surely a beautiful and strong girl. She is special just the way she is and her family believes that she just lives that way.
Inspiring stories like Sara’s make us wonder why we sometimes complain about little things in life. May Sara’s story be an inspiration to others to continue to persevere and to never lose hope.