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Maine 5th Grader Inspires Zaner-Bloser to Create Special Penmanship Award for National Handwriting Contest

COLUMBUS, OHIO (April 4, 2011) - While more than 200,000 students are awaiting the results of Zaner-Bloser's 20th annual National Handwriting Contest, a 5th-grader in Readfield, Maine received a special award for his participation in this year's competition. During a school assembly on April 4th, Readfield Elementary School principal, Cheryl Hasenfus, presented a trophy to Nicholas Maxim on behalf of Zaner-Bloser for his excellent penmanship, an even more significant accomplishment because he was born without hands and lower arms.

Zaner-Bloser received an entry from Nicholas Maxim's principal in January 2011 after the contest began. His penmanship looked comparable to most students his age despite his disability.

"We submitted his entry because we felt his penmanship was amazing considering he completes most of his work without using his prostheses," says Cheryl Hasenfus, Readfield Elementary School Principal. "We are honored that Zaner-Bloser decided to start a new category in Nicholas' honor."

Zaner-Bloser created the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellent Penmanship for this year's handwriting contest and years to follow. "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."

The Special Needs Handwriting Contest will include the following guidelines:

  • One manuscript (print) and one cursive special needs award entry per school
  • A student must have a cognitive delay, intellectual, physical or a developmental disability
  • Entries may be written in either manuscript or cursive
  • Each entry must have a special needs recommendation letter on official school letterhead explaining why the student is eligible for the award
  • Each student chosen to represent their school will receive an achievement certificate and will be entered to win the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellent Penmanship

Winners in the 20th Annual Handwriting Contest will be announced at the International Reading Association Annual Convention on May 10 in Orlando. The annual Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest encourages legible handwriting by testing the abilities of students who use the Zaner-Bloser Handwriting program in Grades 1 through 8 in both Public and Private Schools.

The company estimates that more than 2.5 million students have participated in the contest during its 20-year history.

About Zaner-Bloser

Zaner-Bloser, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Highlights for Children with more than 120 years of experience in education, is one of the premier publishers of research-based reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, and handwriting programs. The Zaner-Bloser mission is to create dynamic, appealing and effective educational programs and services. Zaner-Bloser focuses on distinctive programs that inspire all students to become engaged, literate participants in the global society.


Brad Onken, 614-487-2867
Karen Twinem, 614-224-8114

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