Similar to the end of a lowercase cursive Z, Ms. Trubek said, cursive’s fade will be gradual.
Cursive would linger like “the way there are still typewriters,” she said. “I think I’m just like most Americans where cursive is a much, much smaller part of their lives than it was 20 years ago — for those who are old enough to remember that — and it’s continuing, with each passing day, to become a smaller part of their daily lives.”
At Woodland Consolidated School, there has been a longstanding effort to maintain the craft.
“I feel that our students across our nation are losing the ability to sign their name,” Ms. Lord said. “I always tell my students: ‘You should be proud of your name. You should be able to write it as beautifully as you can because it represents your spirit, and you, and what you can accomplish.’”
To enter the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest, whose organizers say attracts about 80,000 participants every year, all students must write two sentences. One that says what they like about handwriting, and one that includes every letter of the alphabet: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
The contest, which has run for 30 years, is organized by Zaner-Bloser, a company that produces educational materials and traces its roots to an Ohio college of penmanship founded in 1888. A panel of outside judges, including current and former educators, evaluates the submissions, and two occupational therapists select the Nicholas Maxim winners.
The winning students take home an engraved trophy, a $500 check and a $1,000 voucher for their schools. (Teachers get a certificate.)
Allison and Christian were not the first students from Woodland Consolidated School to be recognized for their cursive skills. In 2011, a seventh grader at the school won the national prize for his grade, according to The Bangor Daily News. And in 2017, another seventh grader was a semifinalist in the handwriting contest, according to The County, a hub for Maine news outlets.
“Everybody loves to teach the handwriting course,” Ms. St. Peter said. “It’s important that they can read historical documents that are in cursive, and they can sign their signature when they’re asked to sign forms.”