Reporter Kristen Cates for the Great Falls Tribune posted this inspiring article on the newspaper’s web site:
Second-grader Justin Smith, a resident of Cascade, a small town that is part of the Great Falls, MT, metro area, was recently named one of 16 champions for his completely legible handwriting in the 21st annual national Zaner-Bloser handwriting competition.
Justin’s clear handwriting was picked out of more than 300,000 entries in grades first through eighth from across the U.S. as being some of the best in the country in the handwriting contest.
“It took a lot of practice,” Justin said.
Zaner-Bloser is an education company that focuses on creating penmanship curriculum.
Penmanship is no longer a required portion of the Cascade school district curriculum, but Sarah Cloud, Justin’s second-grade teacher, said she still believes in the importance of such skill.
“Additionally, says Cloud, “research links proper penmanship with better academic success.”
Justin’s mom, Becky Smith, said her son always had nice handwriting, but she didn’t know until recently just how good it is.
“When people give us presents, he writes thank you notes,” Becky Smith said. “I never would have thought he would be tops in the nation.”
Justin earned a trophy that is proudly displayed on a window shelf in Cloud’s classroom and a $250 prize from Zaner-Bloser for his handwriting.
“It feels good because I made it that far,” he said.
Cloud started teaching her students a little bit of cursive. Justin said mastering a cursive “z” has been the hardest letter so far. But he thinks he’ll do OK.
“I just keep writing a lot of sentences,” he said. “It feels good.”
I’m pleased that students such as Justin continue to be enthused about learning handwriting. However, because of their underdeveloped muscles, it is easy for children to accumulate small injuries in their hands and fingers, that can stay with them as they grow older. An ergonomic pen, like the UGLee Pen, is a good way to avoid repetitive stress injury and help prevent future hand problems.
The ergonomic design of the UGLee Pen keeps stress and strain off the tendons so that there will be no inflammation or swelling in the surrounding area. Read Why Your Kids Need an Ergonomic Pen for more information.
Photo Credit: greatfallstribune.com