A second grader has won the Google Doodle contest and received a $30,000 college scholarship.
Every year, Google hosts the Google 4 Doodle contest where kids from across the country submit their drawings to Google for a chance to become an official Google doodle. Through thousands of entries, Google has whittled down their selection to just one: Sarah Gomez-Lane of Virginia.
Sarah’s dinosaur-themed doodle captured the hearts of the judges and earned her and her family a flight down to Google headquarters for a tour of the company. She, along with the other finalists, got to meet the Google doodle design team and spend a day doodling to their heart’s content.
At the end of the day, the winner of the contest was announced and Sarah was delighted to find out that she’d won.
"When they called my name I felt happy and surprised," she said in Google’s video. "I'm going to call my principal and he's going to say, 'Yay!'"
This year’s theme was “what inspires me,” a complex idea for a child to understand. That probably has something to do with why Sarah drew a bunch of dinosaurs: she plans on becoming a paleontologist one day.
Nate Swineheart of Google’s Doodle team later described the challenge of turning Sarah’s design into an animated doodle. "How do we maintain this pure, childlike style, but make it move in a way that the user can see and appreciate?”
We haven’t seen the final product quite yet, but Google plans to animate the T-rex so that it’s playing the trumpet, the triceratops so that it’s eating ice cream, and the stegosaurus so that it’s blowing a bubble with bubblegum.
This year also included guest judges Jimmy Fallon, Kermit the Frog, and 2018’s National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning. Kermit and Fallon announced their participation earlier this week on Fallon’s late night talk show.
In addition to the $30,000 college scholarship, Sarah has also won her school a $50,000 prize to upgrade the school’s technology “to help students like Sarah continue to pursue what inspires them.”