Girl in mesa

Emma Laird, a second-grade student at Pilgrim Lutheran School in Mesa, won $500 and the Nicholas Maxim Award for special needs students in the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.

Emma, who was born with spina bifida, “doesn’t let her physical or visual challenges stand in the way of her academics, especially when it comes to handwriting,” judges said.

“Emma’s physical needs challenge her on a daily basis,” said James Wade, principal at Pilgrim Lutheran School. “Emma always strives to use her God-given abilities to the fullest, which is why it has been so rewarding to work with her and see her rise to the challenges and grow academically. Best of all, she’s a great kid and awesome classmate.”

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