When most people think of a successful individual, they usually think about someone who is older. Patti Watson breaks the status quo by demonstrating that the younger generation can also be extremely successful.
Patti’s vibrant personality shows through her determination and strong work ethic. While she is only in high school, she stays involved in multiple activities and sports.
“I’m in tenth grade. I’m a high school varsity cheerleader. I do girls powerlifting. I play tennis. I am in band and color guard,” stated Patti. “Last year I was in Student Council and FBLA. I was on the Leader in Me Team. I want to be on the Lighthouse Team.”
She participates in multiple events at the school, and her intelligence and beauty have been noticed. She has received more awards over the years than she can list.
“In seventh and eighth grades, I was homecoming maid. I got top ten my seventh grade year in Beauty and Beau. In my eighth grade year, I won most photogenic and first alternate in Beauty and Beau. I was most improved in tennis for 2021,” said Patti. “I placed every year in spelling bees except for my fourth grade year: I won first place in third grade, third place in fifth grade, and second place sixth grade, third in state. I’ve won other awards for honor roll, softball, cheer, and stuff like that.”
Her delight in participating in different events and sports started when she was very young and has only blossomed over the years. For years, playing softball has been her favorite activity. Lately, another sport has become her favorite alongside softball: cheer. In fact, she grew up cheering.
“I’ve been cheering since I was two years old. I did youth football in Quitman and then went to EMC in Meridian. It’s an all-star travel competition team. I did that until I got to sixth grade. After sixth grade, I did junior high cheer in seventh and eighth grades and then high school cheer in ninth grade,” expressed Patti. “I’m cheering on the varsity team now in tenth grade, and I’m doing competitive cheer again. This time I’m doing competitive cheer with United Cheer in Quitman.”
While she already stays busy maintaining high grades and balancing all of her extracurricular activities, Patti has also achieved something at her young age that many adults having achieved: owning her own business. In fact, she managed to begin her business when she was only in the seventh grade.
“I’m the proud owner and operator of Creative Touch by Patti Design and Photography. It started when I was in seventh grade when I started taking pictures. It started at church. I’m in the media ministry at church and was taking pictures on my phone every Sunday. Then, I asked for a camera, and everything went from there,” explained Patti. “My business went from there because I started doing more photo shoots with people other than just church photos. I started a Facebook page for my business. I do weddings, family shoots, and baby shoots. I’ve done Grinch pictures where the Grinch would pop up behind the kids. I’ve done Easter pictures. I just take pictures all around. Most of my photoshoots are around 5:30 in the evening. On Saturdays, I sometimes have different bookings all day.”
Patti’s photography skills are incredible, and she has already photographed multiple weddings. She shot her first wedding when she was only beginning her business.
“When I do weddings, they usually take all day. I at least have to get there earlier to take before pictures and catch moments with the bride and groom by themselves before they see each other,” continued Patti. “My first wedding was when I was in seventh grade. I was so nervous because I wasn’t even three months into photography. They told me they were going to give me the opportunity, and I was so blessed and happy to have the opportunity to photograph a wedding in the beginning stage of photography.”
One of the greatest contributors to her success is the level of support she receives. In fact, she believes that her mom, Nicole McCree, is her strongest supporter.
“My mom is my biggest supporter. With my photography, she drives me to all my photoshoots since I’m only 15. She makes sure I have what I need. This is my third camera,” declared Patti. “I had one camera when I first started. I was in the middle of a senior shoot last year when it broke, so we had to go get another camera. I get new lenses every year for Christmas. For my birthday this year, I got the camera that I’ve been wanting since I started, which is the one Ms. Shea Goff trained me on.”
Photography is the only thing her mom supports her on. It was through her mom’s encouragement that she was able to add on the second part of her business dealing with design.
“I also make shirts. The shirts are the design part of my business. I started making shirts last year. I got the heat press for Christmas when I was in eighth grade. I didn’t start really using it until Covid hit because I was in the house every day. I didn’t really know how to use the machine at first and didn’t know what to do while home every day,” recalled Patti. “I was working out every day to prepare for cheer, and my mom told me to make a shirt. Bridgette Nelson makes shirts and helped me get started. Once I got started, it went on from there. People started asking me to make shirts, so I did.”
Despite her busy schedule, Patti still loves to be able to bless and help others when she is able to. She doesn’t limit herself and her talent to only focusing on her schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and her business. Instead, she donates her talent and time to help those around her as well.
“Last year, I volunteered to hand out the programs at graduation. I volunteer to take pictures at church of family gatherings. I usually volunteer to help anybody around me when I see they need help,” stated Patti. “When the school didn’t have a school photographer anymore, I started taking the pictures at the softball, baseball, and basketball games. Mrs. Slay asked me to help her with the yearbook because it was midyear and she didn’t have many pictures, so I ended up on the yearbook committee.”
Although she enjoys taking pictures and being involved, Patti also has big dreams for her life in the future. Her sweet, giving spirit has given her a desire to be more than just an athlete or photographer. She is motivated to help children in the best way she can imagine.
“When I grow up, I would like to be a pediatric oncologist. I want to be a children’s cancer doctor because I’ve always wanted to be a pediatrician, and when I was in fifth grade, my granny was diagnosed with colon cancer. It used to hurt me to see her down from cancer,” expressed Patti. “I decided I still wanted to be a kids’ doctor and help kids, but I also want to cure kids’ cancer. I’d like to work at St. Jude’s. When I was little, I actually wanted to go paint the nails of the little girls there.”
Although Patti is only a sophomore, she has already made some great accomplishments. She is determined and wants nothing more to spread joy to others through everything she does. Her resolve and unwavering support of those around her are sure to help her achieve any goal she sets her mind to in life.