RUSSIA — Russia student Hannah Schneible went from third-grader to local superstar in a matter of minutes Friday morning.
Schneible was announced the Ohio winner for the eighth annual Doodle 4 Google competition.
All information surrounding why the Russia students gathered in the gymnasium was kept a secret until representatives all the way from Google headquarters in California, Betsy Davidson and Kevin Vlk, started to explain what a Google Doodle is.
“They are something you find on the Google homepage. Google is known for it’s creativity and making a lot of new products. But what you may not know is that there are actually a lot of artists and designers and engineers that work there that make these ideas come to life,” Vlk said.
Schneible made her idea come to life with pieces of ripped-up construction paper when her mom told her about the Doodle 4 Google competition. The contest challenges K-12 students across the United States to redesign the Google logo inspired by a theme. The theme this year was, “What makes me … me.”
Schneible’s design, titled, “Now Playing,” depicts her as the second “O” in Google playing a guitar on a stage under stars and trees, with her family watching from the audience. She said her love of going outside in nature, acting, singing, and music helped inspire her design. In her entry she said she imagined her silly, music-making, star-gazing, guitar-strumming self singing beneath the trees in the Blue Ridge Mountains where she was born.
“I had other ideas, but they didn’t really work out. I just used my imagination,” Schneible said.
Her doodle was selected from around 100,000 received by a few celebrity guest judges, including a NASA astronaut, a professional basketball and soccer player, an animator, and a few actors and actresses.
Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, 4th District, made an appearance at the assembly Friday morning to congratulate Schneible.
“The very first year I got in office, 1995, The Cleveland Plain Dealer did a study of 612 public school districts in the state, and the No. 1 school district in the state of Ohio was Russia Schools,” Jordan said. “So it’s no accident that today’s winner comes from this fine school district.”
Davidson and Vlk then revealed a giant version of Schneible’s doodle to all her classmates and asked for a little bit of help.
Schneible may have won Ohio, but now she will go on to compete against 53 other doodles designed by students from all over the United States, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the District of Columbia.
Voting is now open on doodle4google.com and will run until Feb. 22. The public can vote once a day for a doodle in each grade group. These votes will help determine the five national finalists. On March 28, a panel of Google employees will choose one of the five national finalists as the national winner.
For winning Ohio, Doodle 4 Google gave a donation of supplies to the school’s music program in Shneible’s honor. The winning student and national finalists will travel to Mountain View, California, to meet and workshop with Google’s team of professional doodlers and see what it takes to launch a doodle on the Google homepage. This year, the national finalist can also nominate a teacher who has inspired them to come along on the trip. The national winner 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.
Schneible said winning was a huge surprise and she feels really really good.
Russia Superintendent Steve Rose and Principal Karen Bensman agreed it’s a really exciting opportunity and the doodle really represents who she is. They wished her luck at the national competition and want to encourage everyone to vote.
To learn more about the competition and to vote, visit www.doodle4google.com.
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN