° empty

Local artist wins state contest

LAUREN WOOD/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Brooke Sims, 16, holds her state-winning design that will be printed on T-shirts for HOSA, an organization for future health professionals. The bulletin board behind her was one she painted by hand in her patient care technician class. The Vidalia High School junior said she loves to draw in her free time, and many members of her family are artistic.

VIDALIA — Brooke Sims isn’t one to normally brag about her artwork, but she won’t be saying “see you later alligator” to any opportunity to boast her recent statewide recognition.

Last week during a conference in Opelousas, La., hosted for Louisiana high school students studying to become health professionals, Sims won first place in a T-shirt design contest that featured six different designs from across the entire state.

“I was so scared that I started shaking when they were about to announce the winner,” Sims said. “I’m not shy when I’m in front of local people, but these were people from all over the state so I was really nervous.

“I really wasn’t even expecting to win.”

The conference was for Louisiana students involved in Health Occupations Students of America, a group that is new to Vidalia High School, where Sims is currently an 11th grader.

During multiple conferences each year, students participate in a variety of contests such as medical spelling, medical photography and the T-shirt design.

The design Sims submitted featured a friendly green alligator wearing a doctor’s lab coat and holding a syringe with a stethoscope around its neck.

Apart from winning a shiny award, the real recognition will come in January when Sims’ design will be printed on T-shirts and distributed across the state to each school with HOSA groups.

While this drawing might be more prominently displayed across the state, Sims said she’s no stranger to seeing her art around the high school.

“I volunteer to do a lot of artistic stuff around the school whenever teachers need something for their classrooms,” Sims said. “I taught myself to draw when I was younger, and since then I’ve just kind of always enjoyed doing crafty stuff.”

Most of Sims’ artistic creations include some sort of animal, which she says goes hand-in-hand with her goal of becoming a veterinarian.

“I love animals mainly because I get too emotionally attached to people, so I couldn’t deal with a person getting sick or something,” Sims said. “That’s really why I want to become a vet and take care of horses.”

But until she can land her dream job working with Dr. Debbie Guillory at Miss-Lou Veterinary Clinic, Sims said she’ll continue learning about helping humans in her patient care technician classes at the high school.

By taking those classes, Sims said she’ll graduate as a certified nurse assistant and be able to add that to her resume on her way to hopefully attending Louisiana State University.

“I really want to go to Texas, but I have to stay in state and LSU has the best vet program,” Sims said. “To go to college you have to have some kind of background in the medical field and these classes are going to help me get that experience.”

And even though Sims said she isn’t one to travel much around the state, some bragging rights might come into play if she ever sees a student wearing a T-shirts sporting her design.

“I’d probably stop then and say, ‘Hey, did you know that I drew that?’” Sims said laughing. “I would brag a little bit.”