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May 6, 2013

Andover senior is Michigan finalist in Doodle 4 Google competition

Online vote is open through May 10

By Robin Ruehlen
C & G Staff Writer

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Rep. Sander Levin congratulates Andover High School senior Dakota Jones during a special assembly at the school May 1.
 

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — If you want to see what 18-year-old Dakota Jones’ best day ever would look like, just visit Google and take a look. And don’t forget to vote.

The Andover High School senior’s painting of a girl beekeeping was chosen out of 130,000 entries as the Michigan winner of the Doodle 4 Google competition — a national contest open to K-12 students  across the Unites States. The challenge was to redesign the Google logo, inspired by the theme “My Best Day Ever.”

“I was on Google one day and saw the link for ‘Calling All Young Artists,’” she said.

“I thought, ‘Hey, I’m a young artist,’ so I wanted to try it. Everyone in my family is very artistic, so I’ve grown up with it. It’s a big part of what we do.”

Jones said she worked on the painting on and off for a couple of weeks before scanning and submitting it to Doodle 4 Google.

“Beekeeping is a hobby that has interested me for a long time, and I’ve done a lot of research on it,” she said.

“So when I saw the ‘My Best Day Ever’ theme, I took all the things I’d been thinking of, and the culmination of that was the best way I could answer what they wanted.”

Although Jones received a phone call two weeks ago telling her she had been chosen, the official announcement was made at a May 1 assembly at Andover; it included representatives from Google, as well as U.S. Rep. Sander Levin.

“All the art students came down and they unveiled a big print of my doodle, and someone set up a big balloon canopy. There were also news crews there, which I wasn’t expecting,” Jones said.

“I was shocked when they called me. I didn’t really expect anything to come from it. I just thought it would be a fun thing to paint.”

Dakota’s mother, Debra Novara, said she is pushing to get the word out locally for people to vote, and as many times as possible.

“When the Google folks called us and told us she was the state winner, we couldn’t believe it. We’re very proud of Dakota,” she said.

“We really want people to get on there and vote and get her into the national finalist group and ultimately the win.”

People can vote for their favorite doodle and help select five national finalists, one per grade group, until May 10 at www.google.com/doodle4google/vote.html on multiple devices and Web browsers.

Google will announce the five finalists and the national winner at a May 22 awards ceremony in New York City. The winning  doodle will be displayed on the Google homepage May 23, and the student will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his/her school.

In addition, all 50 state winners will have their doodle displayed in a special exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York May 22-July 14. Guest judges included Katie Couric, Brian Henson and Chris Sanders.