A 6-year-old Virginia girl who followed her dreams has landed national recognition and a $30,000 scholarship from Google.
Second-grader Sarah Gomez-Lane has been declared the 2018 Doodle for Google contest winner, and her interactive dinosaur drawing is currently being featured on the U.S. Google homepage, according to the tech company.
Sarah’s passions led her to the top of the competition, which featured the theme, “What inspires you” for its 10th year. On a stormy day last year, when the power went out at her school, Sarah decided to draw dinosaurs, because she wants to be a paleontologist one day, her parents told ABC Washington, D.C. station WJLA.
Sarah won out of 182,000 entries, Gomez said. She will be rewarded with $30,000 in scholarship funds for college, and her school, Pine Spring Elementary School in Falls Church, will receive $50,000 in funds to spend on technology, Google said. The school will be using that money to purchase interactive smart boards, WJLA reported.
The winner was announced after Google invited the finalists for each grade level to its headquarters in California, where they interacted with Google’s professional doodlers for the day, according to a behind-the-scenes video released by the company.
“When they called my name, I was surprised,” Sarah said in the video.
Sarah is the first winner ever to collaborate with Google’s artists to bring her drawing to life, transforming the artwork into an “animated, interactive experience,” Google said.
The doodlers asked Sarah about her artistic process, including what she was thinking when she created the characters — what their likes and dislikes were.
The team came up with is a Tyrannosaurus Rex who plays the trumpet, a Triceratops who eats ice cream, a Brachiosaurus who eats blueberries, a shovel that digs up a custom dinosaur that Sarah created and a Stegosaurus who blows a bubble out of gum and floats in the air — all with the simple roll of the mouse.
After all of the dinosaurs have had their animated moments, a special finale occurs.
“When you’ve gone through all the dinosaurs, then there’s the celebration,” Sarah told WJLA.
She was chosen because Google was “blown away by her big (you might even say ‘dino-sized!’) ambitions for her future, especially at her young age,” the tech company said in a statement.
For the theme, other contestants submitted drawings depicting everything from outer space to roller coasters.
Sarah’s doodle will remain on the Google homepage for 24 hours.