Five young artists are one step closer to having their doodles displayed on Google’s homepage for a day.
Perhaps reflecting the difficult year we’ve all had to overcome, for its 13th annual Doodle for Google contest, Google chose the theme: “I am strong because…” Schoolkids from kindergarten through the 12th grade were invited to use any material or medium, as long as it can be photographed or displayed in a two-dimensional format. They were also asked to write about how they created the doodle and how it represents their inner strength.
On Monday, Google announced the contest’s national finalists, selecting one person from each of the five age groups: K-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 and 10-12. Here’s the artwork from the five finalists, along with a description of the theme, in their own words.
Sadra Rajaee of Arizona created Imagination Brightens the Future, saying “I am strong because I have an imagination. With my imagination I make my parents laugh and help them through hard times.”
Elise Then from Oregon created Nature’s Strong-Fold, explaining “In this Doodle, I choose to represent strength found in nature using origami. For example, hummingbirds, the smallest bird in the world, can beat their wings 40 times in the blink of an eye! Nature is a gift where I derive my strength. I must appreciate and care for it.”
Marketa Douglas from Rhode Island created Connections and Kindness, saying “My Doodle shows my grandma and I, connected by one of the only ways of communicating at this time. It’s meant to represent doing your best to be kind and stay strong for others, with the different symbols showing other places I see this strength every day.”
Kiara Susana Ponce Virella from Puerto Rico created Splash of Hope, explaining “I am strong because I got through scoliosis surgery. That’s the scar decorating my back. All the canvases that I painted show I grew stronger. Now I’m coming to terms with who I am, and look past my flaws. I may not seem strong, but I am. In my own special way, just like everyone else.”
Milo Golding of Kentucky created Finding Hope, writing “I am strong because I have hope. I once asked my father how he overcame obstacles and became who he wanted to be. He replied, ‘Hope, hope keeps me strong.’ After I unexpectedly lost him at 13 due to a heart attack, it helped me overcome grief and support other children who lost loved ones.”
Each of the five finalists will receive a $5,000 college scholarship, Google hardware for the school year and some Google swag.
The national contest winner will be announced in mid-June, and their submission will be featured on Google’s home page for a day, one of the many Google Doodles that the company regularly uses to liven up the bare-bones company logo that usually occupies its search engine page. Along with the exposure, the winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology award for his or her school.
Guest judges this year include Dav Pilkey, best-selling book author and illustrator of Dog Man and Captain Underpants fame, Grammy Award-winning producer and artist Peter CottonTale and 2020’s National Teacher of the Year, Tabatha Rosproy.
Google has also created a gallery featuring the artwork for all the state winners from K-12 students based in the US, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.