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Grand National Champions and Nicholas Maxim Award Winners
Honored by Zaner-Bloser in 21st Annual National Handwriting Contest

Zaner-Bloser is proud to announce that eight students from across the country earned top honors by displaying excellent handwriting skills to become the “Grand National Champion” winners in its 21st Annual National Handwriting Contest. Judges selected one student from each grade level, ranging from first to eighth grade, who exhibited the finest handwriting from across the country.

This year, more than 325,000 students participated in the annual contest. Zaner-Bloser estimates that nearly 3 million students have participated in the contest during its 21-year history. Public and private schools held their own handwriting contests and entered the winning student for each grade level. The contest entries, both cursive and manuscript, were judged according to the Zaner-Bloser Keys to Legibility: Size, Shape, Spacing, and Slant. Judges selected state winners in Grades 1–8 for both public and private schools. State winners then competed against each other to become one of the 16 public and private National Grade-Level Winners. The National Grade-Level Winners then competed to be chosen as one of eight Grand National Champions.

The Grand National Champions and their dedicated teachers include:

  • Grade 1: William Frautschy, Dover, Ohio, East Elementary School; taught by Barb Lengler
  • Grade 2: Ashton Hoppe, Fond Du Lac, WI, Redeemer Lutheran School; taught by Mary Nell
  • Grade 3: Amber Mastbergen, Grand Rapids, MI, Hope Protestant Reformed Christian School; taught by Mary Brummel
  • Grade 4: Sophie Halverson, Waukon, IA, East Elementary School; taught by Thea Thies
  • Grade 5: Alyssa Peyton, Ashton, WV, Ashton Elementary School; taught by Jessica Porter
  • Grade 6: Megan Lucas, Topeka, KS, Jay Shideler Elementary School; taught by Kathy Galvin
  • Grade 7: Trinh Tran, Charlotte, NC, Southwest Middle School; taught by Anjie Carpenter
  • Grade 8: Trey Hunter, Union, MO, Immaculate Conception School; taught by Jane Fox

“Each of these eight students represents the best in their grade level throughout the entire country. Zaner-Bloser is very proud of the commitment and dedication demonstrated by these students and teachers who recognize the rewards and advantages that handwriting can offer both academically and personally,” said Zaner-Bloser President Bob Page.

The Grand National Champions each earned $1,000 and a large trophy; the teacher of each Grand National Champion was awarded with a trip to the 2012 International Reading Association (IRA) Annual Convention in Chicago. In addition, each champion’s school will receive $1,000 worth of Zaner-Bloser educational materials. Every year, contest winners receive cash and other prizes totaling over $100,000.

Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellent Penmanship

Along with the Grand National Champions, two students were announced as winners of the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellent Penmanship. The Nicholas Maxim Award honors two special needs students (one manuscript winner and one cursive winner) for their penmanship mastery. This year’s manuscript winner is Annie Clark, a first grade student at Wilson Christian Academy in West Mifflin, PA, who was born without hands. Annie's teacher is Linda Messner. The cursive winner, Remiel Colwill, is a fifth grade student at St. Mary Magdalene School in Eastlake, OH who has a visual impairment. Remiel's teacher is Betty Walsh. Annie and Remiel’s special accomplishments are twofold; they have not only displayed exemplary penmanship, but they have also overcome their disabilities to do so. Both Annie and Remiel’s schools held award ceremonies to honor the Nicholas Maxim Award winners and each student was awarded $1,000 and a trophy.

The Nicholas Maxim Award was created last year in response to a unique entry from a talented young writer, Nicholas Maxim—a fifth grade Maine student born without hands or lower arms. To be eligible for the Nicholas Maxim Award, a student must have a cognitive delay, or an intellectual, physical, or developmental disability.

Reflecting on the creation of the Nicholas Maxim Award last year, Zaner-Bloser President Bob Page said, "When our team saw Nicholas' penmanship, we were just amazed. Since we started this contest 21 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."

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