Crayon stripes streaking a hallway might have been the first sign of what was to come for 10-year-old Stephanie Sipe, a fifth-grader at J.W. Reason Elementary School in Hilliard, her father jokes.
Stephanie is one of 53 students, each representing one U.S. state, Washington, D.C., and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, whose artwork is part of the Doodle4Google contest at doodles.google.com/d4g. The prize in the annual competition is to supply a “Google doodle” that will appear as the company’s logo on the Google homepage.
Online voting began June 3 and ends Friday, June 7, at doodles.google.com/d4g.
The votes will determine five finalists, one each from five age groups spanning kindergarten through the 12th grade.
Stephanie is competing against other third- and fourth-grade students.
A panel of Google executives will select a national winner from among the five finalists and announce the winner shortly after they are named, according to the contest website.
Each of the five finalists will have their artwork displayed on the Google homepage for a day and win a trip to Google’s headquarters in California.
The national winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a technology package valued at $50,000 for his or her school or nonprofit organization, according to the contest website.
The other four national finalists each will receive a $5,000 college scholarship.
“I’m so excited,” said Stephanie, whose family was successful in keeping the achievement a secret until Google staff members told Stephanie during a school assembly May 25. Entries for the contest were due in March.
Leaving a crayon trail on walls was the first sign of Stephanie’s artistic flair, said her father, 51-year-old Larry Sipe, adding that each of his six children has inherited his love for art.
“I spend $50 on art supplies each time I go to Five Below,” Larry Sipe said.
Those art supplies consume the family dinner table at the Hilliard Station apartment complex near Roberts and Hilliard-Rome roads in Columbus.
Using an array of crayons and markers – Stephanie was introduced to wipe-off markers after the crayon episodes, her father said – Stephanie meticulously cranks out colorful renderings of girls, anime and the all-American Kermit the Frog and other Muppets.
But a fantasy creation landed Stephanie in the Doodle4Google contest.
Steeped in her desire to become an astronaut (or a singer, she said), Stephanie put such imagination to use creating a drawing that is called “Skating on the Rings of Saturn.”
“Saturn is my favorite planet besides Earth (and) I love roller skating, too,” said Stephanie, whose drawing depicts a rainbow-colored planet Saturn, with a drawing of herself and her best friend, Yufrany Yanes, skating on its rings.
Gaye Cline, an art teacher at J.W. Reason, used the contest as a platform to encourage her students to draw.
“The Doodle4Google contest was a fun way for my students to stretch their imaginations,” Cline said. “The theme this year was ‘When I Grow Up, I Hope…’ and I invited my students to think outside the box.”
Building on the contest theme, Stephanie said, she hopes one day she can “jump into the clouds” and roller skate on Saturn.
Cline described Stephanie as a “sweet and quiet fourth-grader” who is “loaded” with artistic talent, and after seeing the work, she encouraged Stephanie’s parents to submit for the contest, which receives thousands of entries.
“I can’t say how proud we are of her,” said Larry Sipe, who is spreading the word about the contest with other family members, including Blanca Gonzalez, his wife and Stephanie’s mother.
He has printed flyers with voting instructions to hand to whomever he meets.
“I’m taking these to work and am doing all I can to help Stephanie win. ... It’s like running a presidential campaign,” he said.