By Derek Carson, Bennington Banner
BENNINGTON — A student from the School of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales in Bennington has been named Vermont’s best Doodler, and is now in the running to have his doodle featured on Google’s homepage.
Seventh-grader Devin Hogan entered the Doodle 4 Google competition at the recommendation of his art teacher, Crystal Harris. His doodle, called “Diagrammatic Doodle” was inspired by the field of architecture.
“I chose architecture as something that inspires me because architecture is beautiful, and people create beautiful things with architecture,” he said. The theme of the contest was “What inspires me.”
The contest’s judges clearly saw something in his work, because on Wednesday two Google employees, Ricardo Horna and Tom Sharon, traveled to Sacred Heart all the way from California to deliver the news that Hogan had been selected as one of 53 finalists, one from each state in the U.S. as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Beginning on May 7, a public vote will be held to determine the national winner, who will receive a tour of the Google offices, a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 technology grant for their school, and have their doodle featured on Google’s homepage.
This year’s finalists were chosen by a panel of judges that included celebrities such as actor Neil Patrick Harris, U.S. Olympic medalists Ibtihaj Muhammad and Laurie Hernandez, actor and restaurateur Ty Burrell, former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth, former Major League Baseball outfielder Carlos Beltran, and 2017 National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee.
“Our founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were still in college, working on their PhDs, when they started Google, so we know the power of students’ imaginations,” said Sharon.
This year, which is the 10th annual Doodle 4 Google competition, the technology company received over 200,000 entries in the contest. The contest was open to all students in grades K through 12.
Horna and Sharon kept the students in suspense as to who the winner was, first teasing that the Vermont winner was in the room, then that the winner loved cats (which they acknowledged was a common opinion), then that they played basketball, and finally that he in Mrs. Dailey’s homeroom class, before announcing Hogan as the winner. Principal David Estes said the the entire event, and the winner, had been kept as secretive as possible beforehand.
Among those in the know, however, were Hogan’s family, who came out to join him in celebrating the announcement. For being named a finalist, Hogan received a laptop, as well as a bag and shirt featuring his design.
Google Doodles, creative re-designs of the company’s logo that are often animated, appear on the homepage of its search engine, Google.com, every day. “They usually run for about a day, so we make an awful lot,” said Sharon. “We actually have a whole team dedicated to making them.”
Harris said that she encouraged all of her students to enter the contest, but in the end about five did. “I believe in my kids,” she said, “and I’m over the top proud of him.”
Voting will run from May 7 to May 18. Five winners will be chosen, one from each age group, then from that group, the national winner will be named. Those wishing to support Hogan can vote during that time period at doodle4google.com.
Derek Carson can be reached at [email protected], at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.
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