By Andrew Cluley
Since Logan Elementary School second grader Ashley Han was three-years-old she’s been telling her parents she wants to be an artist when she grows up. That dream is happening as one of Ashley’s drawings has been selected as the top work in Michigan for this year’s Doodle 4 Google competition.
Ashley’s parents have been proudly showing off her drawings to friends for years, but the doodle “Happiness, You and Me” could reach an audience of millions. That’s because the overall winner of the Doodle 4 Google contest will serve as Google’s official logo for a day. Five national finalists will be selected through online voting through February 22.
Ashley likes drawing people walking on the street as well as cats and dogs. Her Doodle 4 Google entry is inspired by something she likes doing with her family. “I got the idea because my family always drinks tea and I like to host tea parties,” Ashley says.
Second grade teacher Emily Yost has seen a lot of Ashley’s drawings so she wasn’t surprised by the quality of her Doodle 4 Google entry. “Every spelling test she puts a little doodle next to every word to show the meaning, so it’s amazing that she can do it that quick,” Yost says. She quickly adds that Ashley is smart and does very well on her spelling tests.
If Ashley is chosen as a national finalist, she will travel to Mountain View, California, to meet Google’s team of professional doodlers, tour their workshop, and see what it takes to launch a Doodle on the Google homepage. This year, the National Finalist can also nominate a teacher who has inspired them to come along on the trip. The National Winner will take home a $30,000 college scholarship and his or her school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant towards the establishment and improvement of a computer lab or technology program.
Interim Co-Principal Shelley Bruder says Logan Elementary is already receiving a $2,500 grant for art supplies thanks to Han’s art being chosen as the best in Michigan. She hopes everyone in the Ann Arbor community will vote for Han’s doodle.
Bruder says it’s great that Google promotes thinking outside of the box. “I think the thing with kids is that if we give them the opportunity to try to do something different they will, but if they never have that opportunity to try something that they don’t think they can do, they’ll never realize that they can indeed do it,” Bruder says. “I think as educators and as parents that’s our role in life to expose children to as many opportunities as we can, because we never know what’s going to sink in and catch for them.”
This is the second time a Logan student has been Michigan’s representative in the Doodle 4 Google competition. In 2014, then 5th grader Hannah Hu’s “Ocean Cleaner” drawing was chosen as the best Doodle 4 Google in the state.
You can vote for Ashley Han’s doodle here.