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Press Release: Special Needs Students Inspire by Earning Top Honors in National Handwriting Contest

Columbus, OH (April 2, 2014) – Today, Zaner-Bloser announces the Nicholas Maxim Award Winners in the 23rd annual National Handwriting Contest. The Nicholas Maxim Award honors two special needs students—one manuscript (print) winner and one cursive winner—for their dedication and mastery of handwriting. To be eligible for the Nicholas Maxim Award, a student must have a cognitive delay, or an intellectual, physical, or developmental disability.

This year’s cursive winner, Daniel Shi, is a third grade student from The SEEALL Academy in Brooklyn, N.Y. Daniel experiences fine motor and visual perceptual weaknesses. “Completing his assignments in print was a challenge for Daniel, but learning how to write in cursive changed his life,” said Ms. Maria Baigini, a special education teacher at The SEEALL Academy. “Now, he loves completing his assignments using cursive, which allows him to write faster. I always tell my students they can do whatever they want to do. This skill has helped him to make great strides and achieve his goals.”

The manuscript winner is Maryam Al-Saidi, a fifth grade student who recently transferred from Cromwell Valley Elementary in Towson, MD, to Cunningham Elementary in Houston, TX. Maryam has a variant form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth (a peripheral neuropathy disease causing muscle atrophy in the hands and legs). “Maryam is a new student to Cunningham Elementary, but we have learned that she is one determined young lady. She teaches us that we should strive to do our best no matter what the circumstance—and we’re so excited that she’s being recognized for her determination,” said Anna White, principal at Cunningham Elementary. Maryam’s contest entry was submitted from Cromwell Valley Elementary, but she recently began attending Cunningham Elementary, so both schools will receive an award.

“These students are truly an inspiration and they deserve to be recognized for their exemplary handwriting and perseverance,” said Bob Page, president of Zaner-Bloser. “Each year, we’re amazed at the dedication and commitment demonstrated by the special needs students who compete for the Nicholas Maxim Award. “We hope that this category of our annual contest will convey the message that all students should have the opportunity to reach their highest potential.”

Daniel’s school, as well as Maryam’s previous and current schools, will receive a framed certificate and a Zaner-Bloser coupon to spend as they wish. Zaner-Bloser will award each student $1,000 and a trophy.

Zaner-Bloser’s 23rd annual National Handwriting Contest attracted more than 300,000 students and approximately 3.6 million since its inception. For more information about the contest and the Nicholas Maxim Award, visit www.zaner-bloser.com and click on the National Handwriting Contest icon.

About Zaner-Bloser
Zaner-Bloser, a wholly owned subsidiary of Highlights for Children celebrating 125 years of experience in education this year, is an educational curricula and digital resources provider in language arts/literacy, 21st century learning, and social-emotional learning. Zaner-Bloser provides flexible solutions and services that improve results and inspire students to become lifelong learners and is committed to meeting schools’ needs today—and in the future.

Media Contacts
Celina Fabrizio
614-224-8114
cfabrizio@paulwerth.com

Tia Piacquadio
614-487-2630
tia.piacquadio@zaner-bloser.com

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