Google “winner” and you will find 9-year-old Yina Wang. The third-grader from Peterson Elementary School was named the Illinois state winner in the search engine company’s national competition, Doodle 4 Google.
“The people from Google called my parents, and they told me as soon as they got the phone call,” said Wang, of Naperville. “I was excited.”
Representatives from Google not only called, they arrived in town April 29 for a surprise assembly at the south Naperville school to show her winning doodle, “The Tree Planter.”
“Events like this help spur curiosity and creativity in today’s youth,” said Krisztina Radosavljevic-Szilagyi, Google public affairs manager. “For many students, environmental issues were top of mind, resulting in impressive and artistic doodles depicting water and air purification or turning garbage into flowers.”
Wang is one of 50 state winners who doodled their inventions in response to the theme of: “If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place…”
“The earth is important, and we need to protect it,” Wang said, about what inspired her invention. “I knew that trees were good for the earth and now they are getting cut down a lot, and I thought that we should replace them.”
But the contest doesn’t end there. Between April 29 and May 9, voters can choose their favorite doodle from each of the state winners. On May 21, Google will announce the five national finalists, as determined by online voting, and one of them as the national winner. Wang and her parents, along with the other state winners, are invited to attend the May awards ceremony at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.
The national winner will work with Google’s team of professional doodlers to animate their doodle, which will be displayed on the Google homepage June 9. The winner also will take home a $30,000 college scholarship, and his or her school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant toward the establishment and improvement of a computer lab or technology program.