Google is kicking off the 2013 edition of its Doodle 4 Google contest, which gives students in 1st through 12th grade an opportunity to win up to $80,000 — $30k in scholarship money and $50k for tech in their school. This is the 6th year that the company is running this contest which is open to students in the United States.
The goal is to draw the famous Google Doodle based on a prompt offered by the company. Last year when 114,000 students submitted entries, the prompt asked them to draw what they would visit if they had an opportunity to travel anywhere in time. This year, they’re being asked to draw their best day ever in Google Doodle format.
According to Business Insider, the winner will walk away with an impressive haul of prizes. Not only will their Google Doodle grace the company’s home page – viewed by millions of people daily – but they will also be awarded a $30,000 college scholarship, along with a Chromebook, Wacom digital tablet and a t-shirt. Their schools will also get a little something in the form of a $50,000 technology grant.
The judging panel will select winners from all fifty states in five different age groups. These finalists will then compete for the overall grand prize.
Doodle 4 Google entries are judged on artistic merit, creativity, communication and apprpropriateness, but those straightforward categories don’t fully explain why Dylan took top honors among 114,000 competitors. “He tickled our funnybone,” says Ryan Germick, the head of Google’s Doodle team. “He wanted to see pirates. It’s hard not to be charmed.”
Germick said that the entire Google Doodle team looks forward to the day that the Doodle 4 Google winner is chosen, calling it the most fun day of the entire year. He said that the contest is held to celebrate childhood whimsy, imagination and creativity, exactly the same qualities the team looks for when selecting the honorees of its own doodles.
This year’s competition runs through March 22. In May, the 250 state finalists will be displayed in an online gallery. A panel of celebrity judges (including Katie Couric, Jim Henson Co. Chairman Brian Henson and Chris Sanders, director of How to Train Your Dragon) and Google staffers will winnow the field to fifty state winners; the U.S. public will get to vote on those. On May 22 at the New York event, five national finalists will be named — and then one grand winner, whose Doodle will be on the Google homepage the next day.