Girl Born without Hands Wins Handwriting Contest

Sara Hinesley

Ten-year-old Sara Hinesley was recently recognized for her excellent cursive handwriting in the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest, despite the fact that she was born without hands.

“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,” Sara said in an interview with CBS Baltimore about her award. “Things I can’t do, I try to figure out what way I can do it, and try my best to make it work.”

“I have never heard this little girl say, ‘I can’t,’” said Sara’s third-grade teacher, Cheryl Churilla, in an interview with The Washington Post. “She’s a little rock star. She tackles absolutely everything you can throw at her, and she gives it her best.”

A sample of Sara’s handwriting..

Sara moved to the United States from China four years ago, and could speak and write in Mandarin. With some help from her sister Veronica, she quickly picked up English. Both sisters attend St. John Regional Catholic School in Fredrick, Maryland.

Veronica even built an artificial hand for Sara during a science class so that the two of them can play catch together.

“The artificial hand I made out of molding clay,” Veronica said, “so she could catch a ping pong ball.”

Sara sports the artificial hand her sister Veronica made in science class so they can play catch together. Image from CBS Baltimore news video.

“It’s pretty amazing given the physical disability she has,” remarked the Principal of St. John Regional Catholic School, Karen Smith.

To write, Sara grabs a pencil between both of her arms and moves her arms to draw the letters.

“I just put my mind to it and try my hardest and this is what happens,” Sara said.

Sara also keeps that positive attitude when she and Veronica go rock climbing — something you wouldn’t expect someone born without hands to even attempt to do. But with some positive motivation from her sister, Sara still manages to surpass expectations.

“Any time I fail I just keep doing it with Veronica,” said Sara. “I know I can get to the top.”

Sara will receive her award for handwriting — including a trophy — on June 13th.

You can watch the full news piece below from CBS Baltimore.