Tamarac student bags winning design

What does South Florida nature look like?

For 12-year-old Jordan Hessler, it's a canvas of clouds, the sun, palm trees and a bobbing boat.

His vision is emblazoned on tote bags now for sale at Whole Foods Market in Coral Springs. The boy won a contest in which 20 local children expressed their interpretation of South Florida nature through art.

"I am very excited and proud,'' said Jordan, of Tamarac, where he attends Millennium Middle School. "It think it's really cool."

Children were asked to create their designs the day of the contest, March 30. The sixth-grader and his mom, Jodi Hessler, happened to be shopping when a store employee invited him to participate.

"Once he said [it was about] drawing, Jordan said sure," his mom recalled. "We registered. We decided it would be something fun to do to show his creativity."

The children's' drawings were then displayed at the Coral Springs store, 810 University Drive, where about 100 customers voted on their favorite design. The store was the only location to hold the contest, according to local company spokesman Jeremy Jones.

"Customers felt that his [drawing] spoke to their hearts, if you will, to what their idea of nature was in South Florida,'' Jones said. "All the kids did a fantastic job. It was a win-win for all the kids."

In addition to the honor, Jordan received a $25 store gift card and, of course, a free tote.

Hessler encouraged her son to participate because he loves to draw anime art and comics in his sketch book. At his school, he is member of a drawing club that focuses on Japanese art and comic books.

"I am so proud of him, it's so surreal,'' Hessler said. "You do a drawing and you never imagine this is going to happen. We had no idea it was going to develop into this."

The tote bags have been sale for $7.99 since April 22, which was Earth Day. From each sale, $2 benefits the Whole Kids Foundation, which helps schools and supports families in ending childhood obesity. The bags will be available at the store only, while supplies last.

johnnydiaz@tribune.com or 954-356-4939

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