AES students doodle for Google competition

Published 1:39 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Most students at Andalusia Elementary School aren’t thinking about scholarships for college, but those in the Talented and Gifted program are competing for a shot at major scholarship dollars and a trip to Google’s  headquarters, among other prizes.

It’s all part of the  Google Doodle competition, which AES students have competed in for the past four years, TAG teacher Barbara Peek said.

“It is one of those things that has a lot of the things that I am looking for, all in one project,” Peek said. “It has creativity and deep thinking, because there is a new theme every year. The project requires them to think. It also exposes them to a career that they may or may not have thought of or even knew existed.”

Peek said that this project opens the students’ minds to the creative process.

“The project shows the kids that creativity does not have to be an outlandish idea,” Peek said. “It shows them that sometimes you have to work in between some parameters. You have to explain your idea, because that is part of the entry form. So, they have to go through the whole creative process. They have to brainstorm, create a rough draft, we have collaboration meetings where they share what they are doing with their classmates and their classmates give them feedback.”

The national winner of the competition has a chance to receive a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for his or her school, a trip to the Google headquarters in California and Google hardware. The national finalists receive a $5,000 college scholarship, a trip to the Google headquarters in California and Google hardware.

“Just the potential for one of these students to get $30,000 towards college is amazing,” Peek said. “Even just $5,000 is a huge scholarship for some of these kids. You just can’t pass up an opportunity like this.”

The contest theme for this year is “When I grow up, I hope…” Peek said that while some students used the question to answer what they wanted to be when they grew up, there were a couple students who thought about others.

“Some of the students just thought of other people and other things instead of focusing on themselves,” Peek said. “They were thinking of how to make the world a better place. Some of the kids’ projects were visually interesting and of course I love that they have dreams and goals, but the ones where they are thinking about other people are amazing. You can just tell that they are not egocentric in their heart.”

Mia Baumgartner hopes that when she grows up, the world will be a more positive place.

“My family and I are really into meditating and being in a meditative state,” Baumgartner said. “We want a lot of positive energy, no negative energy because it really brings you down. We just live by being positive. The question they asked was, ‘What do hope for when you grow up?’ and I realized that in our world, not everyone is very positive which is bringing the world down, so I hope that everyone can be positive in the future.”

Baumgartner decorated her Google Doodle with a Buddha, two faces displaying positive and negative thinking, a beaker to symbolize optimism, the Chinese words for optimism and a lotus flower to symbolize purity.

“I wanted to symbolize sort of a battle in your mind,” Baumgartner said. “I’m kind of into that vibe of battling against yourself. I wanted positive energy to win so that is why I put them next to each other.”

Crews Cotton wants to solve the world’s problems with science, and his Google Doodle reflects that.

“I want to know if there are certain types of materials that help with certain things,” Cotton said. “I want to create a material that will solve all of the world’s problems. Like with Hurricane Michael, if all of the houses were built from a different material then they would have all been safe. The reason the chemicals are in the doodle, is because recently my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, so he is losing all of his hair, so I want to see if one day I can make a cancer treatment that can basically solve it with no pain or surgery.”

Cotton said that this project is a great way to let his imagination run wild.

“This was a great project for all of us,” Cotton said. “Of course, it would be cool to win the money, but it is a great way for your imagination to run wild. It’s a great way to be creative.”

Sylvie King got her inspiration for the project from Peek after learning that she was a breast cancer survivor.

“Mrs. Peek had breast cancer,” King said. “And I want there to be a better cure for it. A lot of people lose their hair when they go through chemotherapy, so that is why there is a wig on the doodle and a chemotherapy machine. This is the first time that I did this project and I really liked doing it. I love art.”