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Mystified by Misty

photo by Kelley Cochran

photo by Kelley Cochran

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Katie Simkins, freshman, felt as though the world was against her when her doctor first told her she was allergic to dogs and cats. Hearing this at the age of 6 made her feel hopeless. As she got older and remained petless, she started to develop a greater interest in a different species: lizards.

Simkins has always contained an immense interest in herpetology, the study of reptiles and amphibians. As she has become older, Simkins has felt a special connection to her best friend and bearded dragon, Misty, and said she has shown full time commitment and devotion to her.

“It’s fun to learn about different species and systems other than our own,” Simkins said. “It’s so neat to learn even more about something you’re already really interested in.”

While Simkins and Misty battle the unbearable St. Louis humidity in the summer, the two often spend time relaxing on long walks around Glendale. Another way Simkins keeps Misty on track is by sticking to a strict diet of only bugs, fruits and vegetables in order to be in happy and healthy shape. Along with the exercise and diet, Simkins makes sure she gives Misty enough love by cuddling with her every other day. Giving extra affection to Misty creates a more relaxed version of herself.

“[Misty’s] personality is great, that’s why I picked her out. She’s a little grumpy sometimes which is the only downside.””

— Katie Simkins

“[Misty’s] personality is great, that’s why I picked her out, “ Simkins said. “She’s a little grumpy sometimes which is the only downside.”

Simkins recently created The Lizard Sweater: an eco-friendly piece of clothing made by a reusable sock for lizards to stay warm and look great in, during a project in the KHS Startup class. In order to create her prototype, she took Misty’s measurements so the sweater would fit comfortably. It was also essential for Misty to look stylish and be able to move around comfortably.

“They are a great idea, reusing socks that would never be worn and turning them into lizard fashion.” Ellie Mascetti, freshman and classmate, said. “Her business is amazing and I think she will do great things.”


When taking a break from her love for lizards, Simkins is described as a rather easy-going person, by Gillis Lowry, freshman. Simkins appreciates staying true to herself and those who surround her.

“Katie is really a free spirit, which is a quality many people take in different ways.” Lowry said. “She doesn’t mind how [other people] view her.”

Mascetti described her personality as witty regarding the animal world and her endless supply of facts she can discuss at almost any given time. She also mentioned the underwhelming reaction Simkins occasionally receives from her peers.

“She has a lot of knowledge about animals and often times people underestimate her, I see a great person inside of her,” Mascetti said. “I enjoy being around Katie in class ‘cause she always cracks everyone up.”

photo by Kelley Cochran
While discussing future career paths and her love for reptiles, Simkins expressed that herpetology could potentially be an engaging profession to embark on. Even with the desire for gaining more knowledge for the world around her, it’s a possibility.

“Herpetology is not a very quickly-growing market and may just be a hobby,” Simkins said. “However, it would be an interesting career to pursue.”

Misty has allowed Simkins to become a more open person and has also created a business for her. By looking for clients and investors, Simkins is opening up to the society around her and showing them who she is and what she is all about. The remarkable acts of Simkins are astounding to her friends.

“I believe she has the potential to make some very interesting contributions to the world,” Lowry said. “A lot of people do, but Katie’s the type who could truly make the change.”

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Student newspaper of Kirkwood High School.
Mystified by Misty