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 google.com.
On Wednesday, Google announced that Eileen is the top Doodler in Virginia and one of 50 state finalists nationwide. The winner will be determined by popular vote. You can cast your vote online from May 2-10.
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.
She said she wanted to honor the there-is-a-better-way spirit of the 1970s, including efforts to stop war and clean up the environment. “I knew that during the ’70s there was a lot of protesting for peace and there was a lot of greenness,” she said.
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.