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2 Minnesota students' cursive handwriting skills get national recognition

Minnesota kids get national recognition for cursive skills
Minnesota kids get national recognition for cursive skills 03:16

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. — As technology pushes us forward, putting pen to paper may seem like a thing of the past.

But it's a passion for two Minnesota kids, and one that's landed them national recognition.

Inside St. Anne's Academy in White Bear Lake, cursive never went away.

"There's nothing wrong with technology of course, but we can't lose the ability to express ourselves in written language, and the students do well with cursive," said Principal Sister Mary Xavier.

Sixth grader Mary Kieffer and fifth grader Zita Miller are among the winners in the 2024 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting contest, which sees around 80,000 students from kindergarten through sixth grade apply each year.

All students write the sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." It's chosen because it contains every letter of the alphabet.

"K is a tough one, I'm sure everybody's got a different letter. X I've got a lot of practice with, so I don't have to worry about that one," Sister Xavier said.

Zita Miller and Mary Kieffer WCCO

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Kieffer said capital T is her biggest challenger, while Miller's is lowercase Q.

"It's pretty hard because I go into a G sometimes," Miller said.

Judges selected them as winners based on their letters' shape, size, spacing and slant. 

"Many people are impressed by the children after they graduate that the students can read and write in cursive," Sister Xavier said.

Kieffer and Miller find personal benefits in knowing this lost art form.

"I have many pen pals that I like to write to in different states, so I use my handwriting to write to them," Kieffer said.

"I like to draw vines and cursive is kind of like drawing vines, and writing in cursive helps me with my flourishes," Miller said.

Kieffer and Miller were among 28 regional winners, four from each grade, who received an engraved medallion.

On Monday, WCCO learned Miller is also one of seven national winners. She'll get a trophy and $500.

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