Overland Park 7th grader crowned national penmanship queen

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Anita Rayabarapu’s winning entry form. // Courtesy of Zaner-Bloser

Overland Park Pleasant Ridge Middle School student, Anvita Rayabarapu, probably has better handwriting than you. This month, Rayabarapu was selected as the 7th grade Grand National Champion in the 2021 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest out of over 70,000 contest participants for her exemplary cursive handwriting.

Zaner-Bloser is a handwriting, reading, and grammar curriculum publishing company that believes strongly in the power of good handwriting and has hosted the handwriting contest for 30 years. From kindergarten to eighth grade, nine students, one from each grade, were selected as grade-level Grand National Champions. Nine others were selected as semifinalists. Two seperate students were selected as winners of the Nicholas Maxim Award for students with special needs.

“Research has shown time and time again that handwriting has a positive effect on children’s learning, providing many benefits that support cognitive development and improve academic outcomes,” says Lisa Carmona, president of Zaner-Bloser. “Our contest recognizes handwriting as an important component of literacy education and celebrates students for their hard work and commitment to excellence.”

Grand National Champions received a $500 check, engraved Zaner-Bloser trophy, and a $1000 Zaner-Bloser product voucer and handcrafted certificate of achievement went to their prospective schools.


Anvita Rayabarapu. // Courtesy of Pleasant Ridge Middle School

After entering the contest last year as well, Rayabarapu was elated to learn of her national victory in the 3oth annual Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Contest.

When I received an email letting me know I won the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest, I was overflowing with happiness and joy,” says Rayabarapu. “Last year, I was a state-level winner, so my goal was to go beyond that this time. I was thrilled to hear that I reached my target.”

Rayabarapu agrees with Zaner-Bloser on the merits of good handwriting.

“I believe that penmanship/cursive writing is important because it is a key method of communication,” she says. “Neat handwriting allows others to understand your thoughts and ideas through paper and pencil. I always try to make sure that what I write is clear and comprehensible as much as possible. Also, when you write in cursive, you are constantly focused on the words, so in an amazing way, it boosts your creativity!”

To see a full list of the contest winners, semifinalists, and recipients of the Nicholas Maxim award, click here.

Categories: Culture