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8-year-old Sophia “surprised and happy” to win 2017 Turtle Derby logo design contest

8-year-old Sophia Nieters says she loves science and “acting like an animal,” two hobbies that might have helped her draw an impressive turtle for our 2017 Turtle Derby logo design contest.
Sophia Nieters (center) created the winning design for the 2017 Turtle Derby logo content. The 2017 Turtle Derby, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, on the Masonic Children’s Hospital grounds, is a fundraiser for hospital ‘extras’ to support our patients.

Sophia Nieters got a big surprise earlier this spring, when she found out the logo she designed for the annual University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital Turtle Derby had been selected as the official 2017 derby emblem.

Sophia, 8, is not a children’s hospital patient, but her brother Jack receives care from our team. The 2017 Turtle Derby, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, on the Masonic Children’s Hospital grounds, draws roughly 1,500 visitors to the hospital.

The event is a fundraiser for hospital ‘extras’ to support our patients. Past fundraising efforts have enabled us to purchase sensory toys, kid-friendly Band-Aids, coping boxes and sporting equipment. Turtle Derby funding has also supported our music therapy program. The event itself features turtle races, carnival games, food and more.

We caught up with Sophia and her mother Jennifer to ask a few questions about Sophia’s winning design, which features a medical turtle.

How did you hear about the Masonic Children’s Hospital Turtle Derby logo contest? Why did you choose to enter? 

The doctor that helps my brother, Jack, told me about the Turtle Derby. The lady who helps distract my brother [during his treatment] gave us some paper and then asked if we wanted to do a coloring contest. The contest sounded like fun because it was with turtles. I knew I wanted to go and see the turtles race no matter what.

Tell us more about your inspiration for the Turtle Derby logo. What was challenging about creating the design? What was your favorite part of the process?

Thinking about what I was going to draw was the hardest part. The hospital helps so many children and I knew that we would be watching turtles at the race. So I thought drawing a turtle helping others would be neat. Drawing the turtle was the best part.

Scroll down to see the winning design!

What was your reaction when you learned your design was chosen? Can you describe the moment? 

Surprised and happy! I was eating breakfast when my mom told me. I could not believe that I had won!

Are you planning to attend the Turtle Derby later this year to see your design in action? If so, how excited you to participate in the event?

Yes, and I am SO excited! We get to see turtles race and it will take a long time for them to finish. I am bringing my whole family and my cousins will be there to watch the race as well.

Do you enjoy drawing and creative projects? What other interests and hobbies do you have? 

Yes, I love to be creative. I am always drawing, from the moment I wake up to the moment when I go to bed. I doodle on everything everywhere. I like to climb trees and run around outside. I like science. I love acting like an animal.

If you are a patient at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, can you tell us what kind of care you receive at the hospital?

I am not a patient, but my brother Jack is. He sees Dr. Ingrid Polcari, who helps heal his finger. She is very nice. My sister Zoie and I go to make Jack feel safe. He is very brave when he gets his shots. The doctors are so friendly and are always smiling!