A little more than two weeks ago, Emily Duncan’s mom desperately wanted to get ahold of her.
In voice and text messages, she urged her daughter to call home because she had some really important and good news to share.
But Emily’s phone wasn’t working that day, so her mom had to wait until the 17-year-old junior at Liberty High School arrived home before telling her that she was the Missouri winner in the Doodle 4 Google contest.
“We did a happy dance,” Emily said. “There was a lot of squealing and jumping up and down.”
Now Emily is in the running for a spot on the Google homepage and a $30,000 scholarship.
But she couldn’t share the news with her classmates until last week, when at school assemblies across the country Google announced the state winners of its annual contest.
“It was hard to keep it a secret,” Emily said. “It got out a little bit. Somehow, the teachers found out.”
This is the second straight year that a Liberty High School student was in the running to win the contest, which is in its fifth year.
Last year, the logo designed by Alexis Zaborac was a regional finalist in the contest. The contest was expanded this year to include a winner from each state.
This year’s contest was based around the theme “If I could travel in time, I’d visit . . .” Emily chose the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris.
“This is my fourth year taking French class, so I was always interested in France and French culture,” said Emily, who plans to travel to France this summer.
“I knew I kind of wanted to incorporate that,” she said. “I’ve always been really interested in the World’s Fair and that time of the turn of the century when everything was still new and full of inspiration and innovation.”
“I thought it (Emily’s logo) was amazing,” said Emily’s teacher, Andi Morris, who teaches graphic design at Liberty High School. “She always impresses me. Her ideas are so creative. When I see what she comes up with, I am shocked at how her mind works.”
Because the contest fits in with the school curriculum, the Doodle 4 Google has become a class assignment the past two years.
“I think it is real-world opportunity,” Morris said. “They are seeing how you can apply the knowledge you learn in class and how important design is.”
The contest is a way to help the students build confidence. And now the district is hoping for a three-peat.
“We will certainly try again next year and cross our fingers,” Morris said. “I am overwhelmed how great these kids are performing. I am very, very proud of them.”
As a state winner, Emily will travel to an awards ceremony on May 17 in New York City, where the five national finalists and then the winner will be announced.
The winning doodle will be featured on Google’s U.S. homepage on May 18. The national winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and the student’s school will get a $50,000 technology grant.
The winner’s art also will appear on a limited edition of Crayola’s 64 crayon box. The other four national finalists each will win a $5,000 college scholarship.
The public can vote for their favorite doodle to help select the five national finalists.
In addition to the trip to New York City, all of the state finalists will have their doodle displayed at a special exhibit at the New York Public Library.
The Missouri finalists’ artwork will be exhibited at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art during the summer.
Emily said she is thrilled to have advanced this far in the contest. She leaves for New York next week. Until then, time will seem to stand still.
“It will go way too slow,” Emily said. “I’m just way too excited to be in New York City. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the results, too.”