By Ed Harris
A visit to Camp Sloper helped inspire Derynoski second-grader Hope Scalise to create a doodle for Google that could earn her a scholarship and a technology grant for her school.
After a little urging from her mother, Hope created a doodle for Google’s “Doodle for Google” contest. Her doodle won for the state of Connecticut and it will compete for the national crown, which could earn Hope a $30,000 scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for Derynoski.
Standing on stage at the school last week, flanked by representatives from Google, and awashed in cheers from her schoolmates, Hope said she was inspired to create the Google after a Sloper counselor had talked about going skydiving for his eighteenth birthday.
“I just thought wouldn’t that be fun when I got older,” Hope said.
The doodles are the various pictures, shapes and images that encompass the Google name on the company’s website.
According to Google representatives Leslie Pearl and Kerry Murrill, who gave a brief history on Google and showcased the various online facets of the company for an awestruck crowd of students, the doodles, which have grown to highlight notable times in history, including birthdays, originally began as a way to highlight that there was something wrong with the website and that no one was in the office to fix it, as the whole team was at the Burning Man music and art festival.
Officials at Google received over 130,000 entries for the contest, which is now in its six year in the United States. Those entries were dwindled down to the top 50, one for each state. The winning doodle will be featured on the Google homepage for 24 hours on May 23.
Hope and her family will travel to New York City, on May 22, to see the Google headquarters on the east coast and to see the doodle, along with the other finalists, hanging in the Museum of Natural History.
Voting for the doodles runs through Friday, May 10, at 11:59 p.m. To vote, visit www.google.com/doodle4google/vote.html.
“We’re just about bursting with pride for Hope,” said Dagmara Scalise, Hope’s mother. “We were on spring vacation in Washington DC when we got a call saying Hope was the state winner. She was speechless when she heard she won. As soon as we saw her sketch, it wasn’t even finished at the point, we knew it was special. It took her a few days to finish it and she worked very hard on it.”
Hope credited her mother, who used to be an artist, as another inspiration for her doodle.
“I thought, I want to be like her,” Hope said. “My mom inspired me.”
Hope also frequently cited the possible technology grant that the school could receive if she were to win as another reason why she entered. Hope said she wanted to do something good for Derynoski.
“We are so proud of Hope,” said Derynoski School Principal Jan Verderame.