The artwork “Imagination Transportation” by Doodle4Google student finalist Shashi Arnold of Maryland.


STUDENTS FROM Silver Spring and Lexington, Va., are among the 50 state finalists in the national Doodle 4 Google art contest, the California tech titan announced today.

The Maryland winner is Shashi Arnold, a fifth-grader from East Silver Spring Elementary, for her Doodle titled “Imagination Transportation” — in which kids soar through the skies in cardboard boxes.

The Virginia winner is Kellie Nicely, a senior at Rockbridge County High School, for her Doodle “A new kind of tree” — which depicts vegetation that could “solve world hunger problems.”

Arnold tells The Post’s Comic Riffs that she was “super-excited and amazed” when she heard the news.

“My parents found out first and they wanted to make it a surprise for me, so they called me [at my friend’s house] and told me to come home,” Shashi tells Comic Riffs. “When I opened the door, there was a big poster my brother had made that said, ‘Congratulations Shashi, Doodle4Goodle state winner!’ … I was definitely surprised.”

Shashi came up with several concepts before settling on her flying boxes. “I really didn’t think I would make it because I was competing with so many people, and most of them older than me,” she says of her pen-and-marker art. Her work was chosen from among from than 100,000 entries.

Shashi is a habitual Doodler who comes from an artistic family.

“I don’t take art classes — I just practice, practice, practice,” Shashi says. “There’s probably not a single page of my math notebook that isn’t doodled on. I’m always showing my art to friends, for advise and feedback.

“My brother and parents are good for that, too, because they’re all artistic as well,” the fifth-grader continues. “My parents make animations, paint and draw, and my brother likes to draw, too — he mostly draws comic style. We often all sit down at the table and work on art projects.”

Shashi says she still likes to climb into corrugated crates to engage her own imagination. “I have not yet grown out of playing with cardboard boxes,” Shashi says. “The day I do will be the saddest day of my life.”

Shashi hopes to ultimately choose a career that engages her imagination — though that’s still a long way down the road. “When I grow [up], I want to be an author and I want to illustrate my own books,” Shashi tells us. “But to tell the truth, I don’t really know yet. I’m only 10, and so much can change between now and then.

“The future is a misty far-away place I rarely think about.”

The public can vote for their favorites at Voting opens today and runs through May 9. The five national finalists will be announced May 21 at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.; all state finalists will be invited to that ceremony. The ultimate winning student Doodle will go live on Google’s home page June 9.