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Google Chooses Bentonville Student's Art

Posted: April 30, 2014 at 5 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- Emily Stockand wants to be an engineer someday, but it was the third-grader's artistry that put her in the spotlight Tuesday.

Emily, 9, was named the state winner of this year's Doodle 4 Google contest that invites students from across the country to redesign the Google logo in a way that fits in with a particular theme. This year's theme is "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place."

At A Glance

Doodles

The idea for Google doodles was born in 1998 when Google's founders played with the corporate logo to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival in Nevada. Two years later, they asked webmaster Dennis Hwang, an intern at the time, to produce a doodle for Bastille Day. The popularity of that doodle led Google to do more doodles. In the beginning they celebrated mostly familiar holidays; since then the doodles have highlighted everything from John James Audubon's birthday to the ice cream sundae.

Source: Google

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Google employees Nikhil Sheel and Jordan Cushman traveled from company headquarters in California to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School to make the announcement during a special school assembly Tuesday. Students erupted in loud cheers and applause when Emily's name was announced.

Her doodle featuring the Google letters drawn as fruits and vegetables growing in a garden was unveiled to the audience.

Emily, as one of 50 state finalists, is invited to an awards ceremony at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., on May 21. The five national finalists -- one from each of five grade groups -- will be announced there. Those winners will be chosen through a public vote that can be accessed at www.google.com/doodle4google. Voting will be open until May 9.

One overall winner also will be selected. That person will receive a $30,000 college scholarship, and his or her school will receive a $50,000 grant from Google toward a computer lab or technology program. His or her artwork also will be displayed on the Google homepage June 9.

Cushman, after explaining the prizes, encouraged the students in the audience to vote for Emily online.

"We want Emily to win, right?" he said. There were more cheers.

Karrie Arbuckle, Jefferson's principal, said the school is trying to move toward project-based learning. An additional $50,000 of computer equipment would be helpful.

"We could get iPads, we could get laptops. We could do all kinds of things," Arbuckle said.

Emily's drawing was prompted by an assignment her teacher, Jeff Antuna, gave the class March 15. That was a Saturday, one of the days used to make up this year's snow days.

"I'm so proud of Emily and excited about her accomplishment," Antuna said.

Emily said the idea for her design came from an incident at school when a classmate got sick from something he ate. She thought it would be a good idea if schools had gardens where students could get "fresh food and healthy stuff."

Emily's drawing was one of thousands submitted from the state, according to the Google employees.

Emily said she and her father found out three weeks ago she was the Arkansas winner, but they had to keep quiet about it until Tuesday when Google announced each state winner.

"It was difficult because I wanted to tell everyone so bad," Emily said.

Google dispatches employees to every state to make announcements like the one made at Jefferson, Cushman said. Each announcement happens on the same day.

"It's a really fun service kind of opportunity," Cushman said.

Before announcing Emily as the state winner, Cushman and Sheel demonstrated some of their company's services, such as Google Voice Search and Google Maps.

Google regularly presents different "doodles" of its logo on its homepage, usually to honor certain people and holidays. The company has a team of illustrators and engineers that designs the doodles.

Emily, in response to a question from one of her fellow students, said she probably will study engineering in college.

When asked later why she's interested in engineering, she said, "Because my uncle is an engineer and he's super awesome."

NW News on 04/30/2014

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