Caitlyn Ngo, a student at St. Edmund Elementary School in Sheepshead Bay, was selected as the fifth grade Grand National Champion in the 2021 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.
Judged on her penmanship, Ngo was among eight other students from across the country who have been named the Grand National Champions of their respective grades.
As a Grand National Champion, Ngo was recognized for having the best cursive handwriting among all fifth grade entries from across the US and received an engraved trophy and a $500 check. Ngo’s school received a $1,000 Zaner-Bloser product voucher and a certificate of achievement, while her teachers received a handcrafted, personalized certificate.
“It felt really exciting and surprising to win,” Ngo said.
After practicing for the competition at home and at school, Ngo said that she was very proud of herself and will save the prize money for college.
Andrea D’Emic, principal of St. Edmund Elementary School was “excited for Caitlyn, for our teachers, for our school.”
“This is very exciting and we are always proud of our students’ accomplishment,” D’Emic said.
Ngo’s mother Kimberly told Brooklyn Paper that she’s very proud of her daughter and explained that after kindergarten, it was already evident that Caitlyn had neat handwriting.
“I think in the past two years she has also received several certificates from school for her handwriting,” Ngo said. “I am very proud of her.”
D’Emic said the school incorporates handwriting into their curriculum, as cursive writing is taught from kindergarten through sixth grade.
“Our goal is to provide a comprehensive education that includes the varied aspects of what they need to know to be successful in future and cursive writing is one of these,” D’Emic said.
Zaner-Bloser, a known publisher of handwriting and other literacy programs, annually invites students in kindergarten through eighth grade from across the country to enter its national handwriting contest to encourage and recognize outstanding penmanship among students.
All participants are required to write the sentence, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” because it contains every letter of the alphabet. The judges then select winners based on Zaner-Bloser’s four keys to legibility: the shape, size, spacing and slant of the letters.
Grade-level winners are selected from each participating public and private school, who then advance to state competitions where they compete against winners in their respective grades from other schools. State-level winners then move on to the national competition, where judges select nine grade-level grand national champions and nine grade-level semifinalists. The contest also includes a category for students with special needs.
This year, the competition was organized online, receiving more than 70,000 student entries from across the nation.
Celebrating its 30th year, the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest is the longest-running handwriting competition in the country. The contest aims to encourage handwriting, a skill that education experts and Lisa Carmona, president of Zaner-Bloser, claims has a positive effect on children’s learning and development.
“Our contest recognizes handwriting as an important component of literacy education and celebrates students for their hard work and commitment to excellence,” Carmona said.