LIMA — With a bird, a flower and even a snake, 11-year-old Sophie Jolliff couldn’t believe Ohio didn’t have a state color.
It may not be long now before Ohio will associate itself with the color scarlet, thanks to a suggestion from Sophie and action by state Rep. Matt Huffman.
“We have a snake, and I would think a color would be before a snake,” the Liberty Arts Magnet fifth-grader said of the black racer snake, designated the official state reptile in 1995.
Huffman has drafted a bill that would make scarlet the official state color and will introduce it to the Ohio House next week. The House won’t likely take it up until November. Huffman acted after getting a letter from Sophie, who could be asked to testify in Columbus on behalf of the bill.
“I appreciate your thoughtful insight and I am proud to represent such a bright young person in my district,” he wrote in a letter to Sophie. “The idea of red becoming the state color for Ohio is a fantastic proposal.”
Sophie traveled to the Statehouse with teacher Heather Patterson’s class last year. After a school visit from Huffman, pupils came up with ideas for a bill. Sophie’s idea was among two voted on to be submitted to Huffman.
“My mom and dad are so proud,” the daughter of Jeffery and Angela Jolliff said. “My mom started crying. … It makes me feel good, proud, excited. I will probably be the only student here who has made a state symbol. ”
Sophie wrote a page and a half to send to Huffman. After doing a class assignment about Ohio, she couldn’t believe the state didn’t have a color.
“It surprised me,” she said. “A whole bunch of other states have colors, but we don’t.”
Sophie said scarlet was the perfect and obvious choice because of its prevalence among other Ohio symbols, including the cardinal, which is the state bird.
“If you look at state symbols — buckeyes and cardinal, and the flag — it wouldn’t make sense if the color was like purple or something,” she said. “So I just decided it was red.”
Huffman said it is a good civics lesson for pupils to see how things get done in Columbus and that they can be involved.
“It is not about jobs or health care,” he said. “But it is still something that gives people input into the process.”
Sophie is in Liberty’s choir and plays percussion in the band. She also plays volleyball, swims and does gymnastics. She wants to become either a pediatrician or engineer.