Thursday, May 27, 2010

Essex student doodles for Google, wins regional spot

The huge owl eyes of Grace Schonberg's doodle first captivated her school and then it captivated Google. The Essex eighth-grader is one of 40 regional finalists in this year's Doodle 4 Google Competition. There were 33,000 submissions, according to the Internet search giant.

Essex Middle School 8th grader Grace Schonberg, 13, (far right) with her pals Katherine Furland, Kayleigh Daniels, Charlotte Pratt and Natalie Flemming at a school assembly held in her honor May 18. Schonberg is a regional winner of this year's Doodle 4 Google contest.

A doodle is a variation of the Google logo. The Doodle 4 Google competition began three years ago to excite the innovative minds of young people, Google representative Matt Dunne said when he spoke at the Essex Middle School assembly held in Schonberg's honor last week.

Schonberg's parents, Steve and Debbie, came to the assembly. "We are really excited for her," Debbie said.

Her dad added, "She started with the eyes and I was impressed. It was pretty intense. I have no artistic talent, myself, so watching that happen was pretty amazing."

The theme of this year's Doodle 4 Google competition was "If I could do anything, I would ..."

"If I could do anything, I would save endangered species," Schonberg, 13, said. "All around the world there are endangered animals that are becoming extinct and I thought it would be great if we could put an end to that."

Her doodle features endangered animals adorning the Google logo.

Schonberg said she has always loved to draw and paint but never thought she would be a finalist. "It's like all of my hard work paid off and I'm just really happy."

About 200 of Schonberg's peers created a doodle for Google. The top 100 were displayed on the walls of the school.

"This really highlights our philosophy of creativity and innovation in the school," Essex Middle School principal Ned Kirsch said. "It's an amazing honor for her and I hope she wins.

"Everyone stopped to stare back into those eyes," Kirsch said of Schonberg's winning submission. "The eyes grab you and the detail is amazing. It makes you want to stop and stare."

The 40 regional finalists are invited to an awards ceremony Friday at Google's New York City office, where the national winner will be announced. The students will then go to the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, where their doodles will be showcased in a national exhibit at the museum which will run from May 27 to July 8.

The winning student's doodle will be displayed on the Google homepage Saturday, and the winning student will win a $15,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for his or her school.

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