Updated Wed, Apr 30, 2014 2:00 pm
Emi Olin with her winning entry (Sarah Hawley/Athens Messenger)
An Alexander Middle School student has become the second Athens County student to be named the Ohio winner in the Doodle 4 Google contest.
Emi Olin, age 13, of Athens, was announced as the 2014 Doodle 4 Google Ohio winner during an assembly on Tuesday afternoon at Alexander Middle School where she is a seventh grade student.
Two Google representatives were on hand to announce the honor to students and staff at the school. Most of the students in attendance where dressed in shirts featuring Emi’s doodle.
The theme for this year’s contest was “If I could invent anything to change the world...”
Emi’s doodle appears on the contest website with the following being said about the art work: “If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place I would invent a tiny capsule-like seed that plants can use to grow faster and have the power to share roots; so they all benefit and can protect animals better.”
Emi said that her inspiration for the doodle was her focus in nature and deforesting and trying to help that problem.
She added that it took three days to complete the doodle.
Alexander art teacher Tom Miller stated that he was “surprised but not flabbergasted” at hearing the news that Emi was the state winner. He added that his surprise was due to the number of entries in the contest.
Miller described Emi as the most talented artist in both the physical and conceptual realm that he has seen in his nearly 25 years of teaching. Miller, who has taught Emi in both sixth grade and this year in seventh grade, called her a “prodigy.”
He added that beyond art she is humorous and easy to get along with. He concluded by saying “everything I teach her in middle school just clicks immediately.”
Her parents, Mikio and Ellie Olin expressed their excitement at their daughter’s accomplishment, but added that it could be huge not only for Emi, but for Alexander as well. If Emi was selected as the national winner she would receive a $30,000 scholarship and Alexander would receive a $50,000 technology grant.
Emi stated that she was shocked and a little worried that she may faint, but that everyone was cheering her on and while she may not have seen something like this coming she said others may not have been as surprised.
Each year since 2011, Google has conducted the contest in the United States. Students from kindergarten to 12th grade can submit entries to the contest. Entries are then judged by grade level with five state finalists selected. The state winner is selected from those finalists, with 50 state winners then competing for the title of national winner.
From there, the state winners are voted on by members of the public. Voting is done online at doodle4google.com. It is limited to one vote per computer. Voting ends at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on May 9.
For being one of 50 state winners, Emi was awarded a computer tablet as a prize, and will be flown to California for an awards ceremony on May 21 at Google headquarters where she will find out if she is the national winner.
In 2012, Athens High School sophomore Emma McLaughlin was the Ohio winner in the annual contest. The contest which began in 2011 now has half of its Ohio winners from Athens County.
The theme of that year’s Google design competition is “If I could travel in time, I would visit…” Emma’s design is of the Gutenberg press, and combines images of Renaissance-era Germany when the press was created.