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National Handwriting Contest

The 2016 National Handwriting Contest is now closed!

The Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest:
Celebrating 25 Years of Student Success

Now in its 25th year, the National Handwriting Contest is an annual event sponsored by Zaner-Bloser to promote legible handwriting. The contest is free to enter and open to all students in Grades K–8. The contest includes a Special Needs category, the Nicholas Maxim Award. Students can win many great prizes, including cash and trophies. Zaner-Bloser estimates that 300,000 students participate in the contest each year.

Free Resources for Handwriting Practice

Before your students put pen to paper on their National Handwriting Contest entry form, let them practice the Keys to Legibility and handwriting skills that will make them handwriting all-stars! Here are some helpful free tools and ideas to get you started:

Practice Masters

Prepare your students for the contest with our ready-made Practice Masters for selected letterforms.

Create Your Own Worksheets

Give your students practice where they need it most and create your own worksheets. The free version of the ZB FontsOnline PlusTM application includes editable templates with grade-specific guidelines and Zaner-Bloser’s manuscript and cursive alphabets. Try it now.

Fine and Gross Motor Skill Development Activities

Strengthen the motor skills that lead to improved handwriting with these effective activities developed by leading occupational therapists.
Learn more.

Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Stroke Descriptions

Take your students step-by-step through proper letter and numeral formation with these easy-to-remember stroke descriptions.

Grades K–2

Grades 3–8

The Keys to Legibility

The Four Keys to Legibility—Shape, Size, Spacing, and Slant—are essential to legible handwriting and form the criteria for judging the National Handwriting Contest. Download these kid-friendly guidelines to help your students understand each key.

Evaluation Guides

As students practice for the contest, they can use these helpful guides with grade-appropriate models of Excellent, Good, Average, Fair, and Poor handwriting to self-evaluate and improve their handwriting.

2016 National Handwriting Contest Winners

Grand National Champions

Grade K: Caitlin Cahutay – Saint Joseph School, Baltimore, MD

Grade 1: Donald Yu – Elmwood Elementary School, Elmwood Park, IL

Grade 2: William Markevich – Saint Constance School, Chicago, IL

Grade 3: Cecilia Saad – Green Vale School, Glen Head, NY

Grade 4: Ella Erickson – Red Rock Central Elementary School, Jeffers, MN

Grade 5: Grace Diane Nesvacil – Valley View Elementary School, Ashwaubenon, WI

Grade 6: Madeline McBride – Sacred Heart School, Cullman, AL

Grade 7: Jose Andres Ramos – Our Lady of Victory School, Victoria, TX

Grade 8: Hope Mary Alex – Saint Andrew School, Coral Springs, FL

Caitlin Cahutay
Saint Joseph School,
Baltimore, MD

Donald Yu
Elmwood Elementary School
Elmwood Park, IL

William Markevich
Saint Constance School,
Chicago, IL

Cecilia Saad
Green Vale School,
Glen Head, NY

Ella Erickson
Red Rock Central Elementary School,
Jeffers, MN

Grace Nesvacil
Valley View Elementary School
Ashwaubenon, WI


Madeline McBride
Sacred Heart School
Cullman, AL



National Grade-Level Semifinalists

Grade K: Sarah Papineni – Seashore Learning Center, Corpus Christi, TX

Grade 1: Thomas Bui – Blessed Sacrament School, Westminster, CA

Grade 2: Danica Rutten – Highland Park Elementary School, Lewistown, MT

Grade 3: Lucyann Tappan – Sicomac Elementary School, Wyckoff, NJ

Grade 4: Emilyn Jozelle Auriantal – St. Mary & Joseph School, Willimantic, CT

Grade 5: Avery Ruth Stanfill – Kirk Day School, Saint Louis, MO

Grade 6: Brenna Haufler – School 9e Walter S Boardman, Oceanside, NY

Grade 7: Emily Margaret Stanley – Monroeville Elementary School, Monroeville, OH

Grade 8: Alphonso Alan Oliver Jr. – Veritas Academy, South Bend, IN

Sara Papineni
Seashore Learning Center,
Corpus Christi, TX

Thomas Bui
Blessed Sacrament School,
Westminster, CA

Danica Rutten
Highland Park Elementary School,
Lewistown, MT

Lucyann Tappan
Sicomac Elementary School,
Wyckoff, NJ

Emilyn Jozelle Auriantal
St. Mary & Joseph School
Willimantic, CT

Avery Ruth Stanfill
Kirk Day School,
Saint Louis, MO

Emily Margaret Stanley
Monroeville Elementary School,
Monroeville, OH

Alphonso Alan Oliver Jr.
Veritas Academy,
South Bend, IN

Nicholas Maxim Awards

Manuscript Winner

Anaya Ellick

Anaya Ellick, Grade 1
Greenbrier Christian Academy,
Chesapeake, VA


Cursive Winner

Ricardo Guerrero, Grade 8
St. Joseph Regional Catholic School,
Beltsville, MD

The Nicholas Maxim Awards honor two special needs students each year for their handwriting mastery. Read more about the winners.

State Grade-Level Winners

New York Grade 1 Public School Winner

Gabrielle Cunningham
Sinclairville Elementary School,
Cinclairville, NY

Judges selected state winners in Grades K-8 for both public and private schools.
View list of winning schools.

National Handwriting Contest in the News

2016 News

Virginia First-Grader With No Hands Wins National Handwriting Contest

Anaya Ellick inspires her parents and school community every day. With this story on the CNN website, her National Handwriting Contest win is impressing people everywhere.

More coverage of Anaya’s win is on PeopleMashable; and WVEC, the ABC affiliate in Anaya’s backyard.

Wheelock Students Wins Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest
Two students from the Ralph Wheelock School—one in third grade and one in second grade—are Massachusetts state winners this year.

Mercymount Students Earn Handwriting Awards
Four students at Mercymount Country Day School win Rhode Island state honors this year.

Bartlesville Student Named Oklahoma Grade-Level Winner
First-grader Peyton McKee of St. John Catholic School wins state prize for handwriting.

Ashwaubenon 5th Grader Wins Handwriting Competition
Grace Nesvacil of Valley View Elementary School is named Grand National Champion.

CT Student Writers Her Way to the Top in Handwriting Contest
Emilyn Jozelle Auriantal, a fourth grader at St. Mary – St. Joseph School in Willimantic, CT, is a semifinalist in the 2016 contest.

Neatness Still Counts
National eighth-grade semifinalist Alphonso Alan Oliver, Jr., is going on to high school next year with excellent cursive handwriting.

Chicago Boy, 8, Named National Handwriting Champion
Saint Constance School second-grader William Markevich showed a knack for handwriting at a very early age.

Local Six Year Old Earns Second Place in National Handwriting Contest
Sarah Papineni, a second grader from Corpus Christi, TX, is named National Kindergarten Semifinalist.

Fullerton Parish School Gets an “A” in Handwriting
Kindergartener Caitlin Cahutay at Saint Joseph School in Baltimore, MD, wins national prize.

Victoria Student Writes Ticket to National Handwriting Honor
Andres Ramos of Coral Springs, FL, has the best cursive handwriting of all seventh-grade entries in the 2016 contest.

Jeffers Elementary Student Wins National Handwriting Award
Ella Erickson of Red Rock Central Elementary is named fourth-grade Grand National Champion.

Lehman-Jackson Elementary School Students Place on State-Level for Handwriting Contest
Six grade-level winners from one school are recognized in Pennsylvania and move on to compete for the national prize.

9-Year-Old Has “Write” Stuff to Win Nat’l Handwriting Contest
Cecilia Saad, a third-grader from Glen Head, NY, is featured on the local news for her cursive win and inspires her classmates.

Chicago-area Students Win National Handwriting Competition
Donald Yu, a first-grader at Elmwood Elementary School, and William Markevich, a second-grader at St. Constance School, are featured by the Chicago Sun Times for their wins.

Calcasieu Students to Compete in National Handwriting Contest
Five students from Calcasieu Parish in Louisiana win state grade-level honors.

An Award to Write Home About
Liam Blas of Oak Harbor Christian School wins Washington state Kindergarten prize.

Assumption Students Earn Spot in National Handwriting Contest
Four state-level winners from school in Millbury, MA, move on to compete for national titles.

La Grange School Keeps Focus on Handwriting
Several students at St. John’s Lutheran School are named Illinois grade-level winners as the school continues to emphasize handwriting.

First Grader Born Without Hands Wins Penmanship Competition
Anaya Elick, a first grade student at Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, VA, wins 2016 Nicholas Maxim Award for excellent manuscript handwriting.

2015 News

Three WestWood Elementary School Students Win State-Level Contest
Minnesota students Ashlyn Jore, Ethan Choe, and Kate Guthrie celebrate their handwriting skills.

Local Student Wins National Handwriting Contest
Newport Elementary Kindergarten student Caitlyn Hanes wins award for manuscript writing.

Three Scott City Students Win Handwriting Contest
Students in Grades 1, 2, and 3 take home state awards for their handwriting skills.

Two St. Andrew Students Win National Handwriting Award
Jillian Harar and Stephanie Geigel were recognized May 20.

Nashville 8-year-old Wins Handwriting Competition
Second-grader Audrey Hudson from Percy Priest Elementary School was surprised to learn she had won.

Good Handwriting Pays off for Sacred Heart Fifth-grader
Eleven-year-old Mallory Gilbertson wins national penmanship honors.

T.S. Cooley Student Earns National Handwriting Honor
Julius Rossowski, a Kindergartener from Lake Charles, LA, wins award for manuscript handwriting.

St. Joe’s Student Wins Handwriting Contest
Third-grade student, Kate Ricupito, wins State Grade-Level Winner award in New York.

Sacred Heart 5th Grader Wins National Handwriting Award
Mallory Gilbertson from Hattiesburg, MS, wins cursive award for her excellent handwriting.

Hilliard 10-Year-Old With Autism Recognized Nationally for Cursive-Writing Ability
Jacob Donahue from St. Brendan School in Hilliard, OH, wins Nicholas Maxim Award for excellent penmanship.

2014 News

Ashwaubenon Student Honored for Handwriting
A Wisconsin fifth-grader receives her award for becoming a National Semifinalist.

Brooklyn Boy Wins $1,000 for His Handwriting Skills
This year's Nicholas Maxim Cursive Winner earns accolades for his handwriting ability.

Antonio Harris is Ohio's Handwriting Champ
A fourth-grade student at St. Brendan School in North Olmsted, Ohio, becomes a National Grade-Level Semifinalist.

Local Kid Can do WHAT Better Than Any Other 6th Grader?!
Alex Goebel, a sixth-grade student at Wisconsin's Rolling Hills Elementary School, demonstrates the skill that earned him a Grand National Champion title.

5th Grader Overcomes Nerve Disease to Win Writing Award
A fifth-grade student from Texas' Cunningham Elementary School becomes the 2014 Nicholas Maxim Award Winner for manuscript handwriting.

Students Become State Handwriting Champs
Students at Virginia's St. Leo the Great School, Sacred Heart Academy, and St. Rita School celebrate their State Winner titles.

Valley Prep Kindergarten Student Named a State Handwriting Champion
Nolan Vann from Valley Preparatory School in Redlands, CA, becomes a State Winner in this year's first-ever kindergarten category.

Corpus Christi Student has the Write Stuff
Indiana's Corpus Christi School honors a Grand National Winner and three State Winners in this year's contest.

Two Jay Shideler Students Deserve a Hand for Writing Skills
A Kansas fifth-grader and kindergartner become State Winners in the 2014 National Handwriting Contest.

IC Student has the ‘Write’ Stuff
A Michigan first-grader becomes a State Grade-Level Winner.

St. Leo Second-Grader Takes First Place in National Handwriting Contest
A New Jersey second-grader earns a prize as a State Grade-Level Winner.

Assumption School Student is Write On
A fourth-grade Connecticut student is named State Grade-Level Winner.

ALES Student Tops in Cursive
A Kentucky fourth-grader becomes a State Grade-Level Winner.

Monsignor McHugh Student Gets State Medal in Handwriting Contest
A Pennsylvania kindergarten student takes home a State Grade-Level Winner award.

Two Kreft Students Place First in Iowa for Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Contest
Kreft Primary School students in first-grade and kindergarten become State Grade-Level Winners.

2013 News

Poland Student Wins Handwriting Contest
WKBN First News interviews the fourth grade Grand National Champion at Ohio's Dobbins Elementary School.

Students Honored for Handwriting
Two students from West Virginia's Jefferson Academy are awarded for excellence in handwriting.

St. Louis Teen Wins Cursive Writing Contest
A seventh-grader at Holy Infant School becomes a Grand National Champion.

Poland Dobbins Elementary Student Garners National Honor
An Ohio fourth-grader becomes a Grand National Champion.

Carteret Fifth-Grader Gets Handwriting Award
A special needs student from North Carolina's St. Egbert Catholic School wins the Nicholas Maxim Award.

Fairbury Sixth-Grader Wins Handwriting Award
A student in Grade 6 at Nebraska's Jefferson Intermediate School earns a State Winner prize.

Four St. Joseph Catholic School Students Win State Handwriting Awards
Several students from South Carolina's St. Joseph Catholic School become State Winners.

Local Second-Grader's Cursive Writing Wins Best in State
This Gaston Gazette article features a contest winner from North Carolina's Cramerton Christian Academy.

Second-Grader Morgan Turner Wins National Handwriting Contest
A Grade-Level Winner from Wheelock School in Massachusetts moves on to compete for national title.

Media Resources

Download the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest Fact Sheet to learn more about the contest.

2016 Press Releases

Elementary and Middle School Students Advance to Represent the Nation’s Best in 2016 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest
Zaner-Bloser announces the nine Grand National Grade-Level Champions and nine National Grade-Level Semifinalists from across the country.

Maryland and Virginia Special Needs Students Earn Top Honors in 2016 National Handwriting Contest
First- and eighth-grade students win Nicholas Maxim Award for mastery of manuscript and cursive handwriting.

2015 Press Releases

Elementary and Middle School Students Advance to Earn Top Honors in 2015 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest
Out of approximately 300,000 entries, 18 students in Grades K–8 emerge as Grand National Champions and National Semifinalists.

Ohio and Michigan Special Needs Students Earn Top Honors in National Handwriting Contest
Special needs students earn top honors in 2015 National Handwriting Contest.

2014 Press Releases

Elementary and Middle School Students From Across the Country Earn Top Honors in 2014 National Handwriting Contest
Zaner-Bloser is proud to announce the National Grade-Level Semifinalists and Grand National Grade-Level Champions.

Special Needs Students Inspire by Earning Top Honors in National Handwriting Contest
Zaner-Bloser announces the Nicholas Maxim Award Winners in the 2014 National Handwriting Contest.

Zaner-Bloser Adds a Kindergarten Category to Kick off the 23rd Annual National Handwriting Contest
For the first time since its inception, kindergarteners are invited to compete in the contest's manuscript portion.


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