Doodle for Google could make Fort Mill student famous

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comMay 1, 2013 

— Noel Heil is still in the running to have her artwork viewed by millions, and to haul in some major cash for her school and future education.

Google announced Wednesday that the Fort Middle Middle School seventh-grade student is the South Carolina winner in its Doodle 4 Google competition. Heil, 13, joins winners from each state in an online vote to pick a grand prize winner, whose artwork will be featured on Google’s main page May 23.

“Make sure you go vote,” said Principal Greg Norton.

That winner also gets a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. All state winners get a trip to New York City for a May 22 award ceremony with artwork featured in an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.

“Google does more than just help people find things,” said Regina Escamilla, an event judge and one of two Google presenters at the school Wednesday.

Google’s “doodles” began as an out-of-office message, but have grown into a way for the company to celebrate art, history, current events and annual calendar highlights. The doodles vary across the globe. A picture replaces but still keeps a simial look to the standard Google lettering in google.com.

This year there were 130,000 submissions. South Carolina ranked No. 44 in participation. Fort Mill Middle produced 14 entries. The theme was “My Best Day Ever.”

Heil’s doodle took “maybe a week” in art class and a little more time at home to complete. There’s a family gathered, a giant strawberry, volleyballs and a friend from a far-away place.

“I love my family and I love nature,” Heil said. “I love strawberries. I love volleyball.”

Parents say two older siblings have some artistic ability too, though Noel shows the most interest. Dad paints some, and his brother is an art teacher. Where the family now needs experience is in campaigning.

Public voting is open May 1-10 at google.com/doodle4google/vote.html .

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