Holly Forge likes to draw.
The local second-grader's skills as an artist recently paid off with a first-place win in a state poster contest.

Holly Forge likes to draw.

The local second-grader's skills as an artist recently paid off with a first-place win in a state poster contest.

"I feel proud of myself," said Forge, who attends Pleasant Ridge Elementary School.

Forge, 8, tied for first-place in a poster contest sponsored by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Her artwork will be displayed at the state capitol next week. Forge will be invited to meet with Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen in the future.

Forge worked on the poster as an assignment after members of the Kickapoo Township Fire Department visited her school in October.

Mark Lingenfelser said firefighters taught children at Pleasant Ridge about fire safety and prevention and left information about the poster contest with the school's teachers.

Lingenfelser is a volunteer member of the Kickapoo Township Fire Department. He also works in Pleasant Ridge Elementary and other Easton schools as a school resource officer for the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office.

Lingenfelser said firefighters returned to the school the following month to collect entries. He said firefighters selected first- and second-place winners for each grade level to be recognized by the volunteer fire department. They also selected two entries to submit to the Fire Marshal's Office.

He said the department could submit only one entry for a category for children in kindergarten through the third grade and one entry for fourth through sixth grades.

Forge learned she had tied for first place in the state poster contest in December, when her teacher was notified by email.

"I felt really happy," she said.

Forge tied with a second-grader from Johnson County for first place in the kindergarten through third-grade category.

This was the first year the Office of the State Fire Marshal sponsored the contest, according to a news release from the office.

The winner in the fourth- through six-grade category also is from Leavenworth County ― Mady Tower, a fifth-grader who attends Genesis Christian Academy in Tonganoxie.

"The students who submitted artwork are incredibly creative," Jorgensen said in the release. "They took a very serious topic — fire safety — and presented it in innovative ways."

Forge's winning entry depicts people crawling to protect themselves from smoke as they make their way to a door during a fire. The poster features the message, "Stay on the ground til the exit is found."

The poster also cautions people about playing with matches, candles and cigarette lighters.

"She put a lot of work into it," Lingenfelser said.

He said the poster has a clever message and focuses on things firefighters mentioned when they visited the school.

Forge said she spent about three days working on the poster, which she drew with colored pencils.

Her father helped her with the concept for the poster.

Forge said she already knows what she wants to do when she grows up, and it's related to art.

"I want to be a fashion designer," she said.