The Washington Post

Doodle 4 Google: Alexandria student is Virginia winner and national finalist

Ever wondered who the artists are behind the Doodles that appear every so often on Google’s home page? One of them could be Eileen Powell, a fifth-grader at Alexandria’s George Mason Elementary — if she gets enough votes in the next week.

Eileen is one of 114,000 kids from across the country who created Doodles and submitted them to Google as part of a national contest. Grand prize includes a $30,000 college scholarship, a computer and the display of the winner’s Doodle all day May 18 at

Eileen Powell won top state honors for her visual ode to the 1970s. Now she’s in the running for the national grand prize.

If Eileen wins, hundreds of millions of people will see her artwork, Google representative Andrew Schulte told dozens of George Mason students during a school assembly in Eileen’s honor Wednesday.

“It’s the biggest museum in the world — you can think of it that way,” Schulte said.

The theme: If you could travel in time, what moment would you visit? Eileen chose the 1970s and created a visual ode to that era, complete with a peace sign, a giant flower and a disco ball.

George Mason fifth-grader Eileen Powell wears a T-shirt featuring her Doodle. (Emma Brown/The Washington Post)

Her classmates cheered for her Wednesday when the Google representative unveiled a larger-than-life reproduction of her Doodle. If she wins, George Mason will receive a $50,000 grant for new technology.

Principal Kevin West said teachers and administrators have started dreaming about what that money could pay for: iPads, perhaps, or mobile laptop carts. “I think everyone has a long shopping list of technology needs,” he said.

West also said he’s proud of Eileen, who is an undeniably multi-talented 11-year-old. Last year she was named the school system’s poet laureate for her poem “Glory” about the Civil War.

“It’s a really good poem,” said her twin brother Max, also a fifth-grader at George Mason. He was joined by several generations of family members who came to school to help cheer on Eileen.

Congratulations, Eileen! And good luck.

Emma Brown writes about national education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
What can babies teach students?
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
How a hacker group came to Washington
The woman behind the Nats’ presidents ‘Star Wars’ makeover
How hackers can control your car from miles away
Play Videos
Philadelphia's real signature sandwich
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained