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Perfect penmanship: Slayton girl wins national handwriting championship

Annie Scandrett's beautiful penmanship honored in Zaner-Bloser contest.

Annie Scandrett, 12, of Slayton, recently was honored as a champion in the Zaner-Bloser national handwriting contest.
Scott Mansch / The Globe
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SLAYTON — Blessed with two parents as educators and an inherent love to learn, Annie Scandrett’s future seems obvious by following the handwriting on the wall.

But this precocious 12-year-old isn’t sure if education will be a career. That’s because she’s too busy these days with dance classes, softball and volleyball practice, fishing and hunting, cooking, reading and writing. Her family, which includes parents Jacob and Erin, and sisters Lila, Cassie and Cora, is the center of her world and attention.

This summer there’s also a lot of rock picking at her grandfather’s farm.

And oh yes, the interview requests.

Annie, who recently won a national championship for her penmanship in the Zaner-Bloser 31st annual National Handwriting Contest, has become somewhat of a celebrity here in this village of about 2,000. She was named a state and national champion for her age group in the Zaner-Bloser contest, which picks nine overall “Grand Champions.”


A sample of Annie Scandrett's handwriting. This was the phrase she had to write for the national competition, as it includes every letter of the alphabet.
Scott Mansch / The Globe

Annie, who just completed sixth grade at West Elementary school in Slayton, is eagerly anticipating this fall when she enters Murray County Central High.

“I like school a lot,” she says. “I like to learn new things and get to know people.”

And what of growing up in a household full of sisters?

“It’s all good,” Annie says.

Her name is not Ann or Andrea. It’s Annie, as in the title of the Broadway play and hit movie. Her father likens his family to that made famous by “Little House On The Prairie,” which featured the stories of a close-knit clan from Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

The Scandretts live on an acreage north of Slayton.

“I like it out there,” Annie says. “I like taking walks to the (Beaver Creek).”

Also an accomplished hunter (with two deer so far) and avid fisherman, Annie is as comfortable outdoors as inside at the table practicing her cursive penmanship.


The latter amazes her father, who for the last six years has been principal at MCC.

“I remember in second grade I got an unsatisfactory in handwriting,” he smiles.

Annie’s talent was not inherited, apparently, from her Dad.

“Not from me, that’s for sure,” he says.

It’s there, though. That is obvious. The Zander-Bloser contest was judged on shape, spacing and slanting of letters. The right-handed Annie works carefully when asked for an example of her handiwork.

The thousands of contestants were required to write “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” which includes all letters of the alphabet.

She’d finished runner-up in the contest as an 11-year-old.

“It was kinda stressful,” she recalls of this year’s contest. “You only have one chance, and you have to make it count.”


Mission accomplished.

Annie says her life has changed.

“Well, I got $500,” she smiles. “I’ll probably put a lot in savings.”

A pause. And then another great smile.

“And then go to Hobby Lobby.”

In an age of texting, Annie is a throwback. She prefers to send letters and notes written in longhand.

“Besides,” she says, “I don’t have a phone.”

Hand-written notes and letters, she adds, shows a little more effort. She has cousins in Australia and writes them letters.

To be sure, anything that Annie writes longhand is easy to read.

“I feel like if you put a lot of effort into something, you can succeed and do good things,” she says.

The handwriting on the wall? More like on the paper. At least when it comes to Annie Scandrett’s future.

And one more thing.

“I want to thank everyone,” she says. “My teachers, and parents and sisters and grandparents. They’ve all helped me.”

Scott Mansch can be reached at smansch5rockets@gmail.com.

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