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Lear wins the West Virginia ‘Doodle 4 Google’ contest

By Staff | Feb 12, 2016

Local teen, Ashton Lear, is smiling big after being chosen as the West Virginia winner of the Doodle 4 Google contest, 2015.

The seventeen year-old high school junior was joined by family and friends at her home Friday for a celebration party and warmly welcome Google representative Brooke Boniface all the way from San Francisco, California.

Boniface gave a presentation about the innovative things Google is working on, as well as details about the contest before presenting Lear with a mounted copy of her doodle, an android tablet and gift bags with other goodies packed inside.

Google has been offering students in grades K-12 the chance to have their doodle featured on its home page each year since 2008. A panel of 6 judges from various career fields chooses winners based on artistic merit, the creativity with which the ‘Google’ logo is used, and how well the contest theme is expressed in both the doodle and written explanation.

Lear’s words describing her doodle: “What makes me, ‘me’ is my love of telling stories. This doodle shows me (on ‘o’) telling my siblings (on ‘g’) a story brought to life around us. Because I love writing, reading, and drawing, I created this from paper and ‘Google’ is cut out from a story I wrote.”

As one of the winners chosen in 53 states and territories for the doodle contest themed, “What makes me…me”, Lear already won a $500 grant. For a child in school, that grant would be given to the school, but since Lear is homeschooled, she donated the grant to the Shepherdstown Library for the purchase of books and electronics.

“Although we don’t do traditional schooling,” said Lear’s mother, Kirsten, “we are students of the community. We love being at the library and participating in local theater and other things here.”

A frequent library-goer, Ashton said, “I wanted to give the grant to the library to help them grow and to give back a bit. The library was a great place for me just to go and de-stress for a while.” She would not only go to get books for herself, but also pick up books to read to her siblings.

“Part of the reason I signed up for this contest is because of one the judges, Glen Keane,” said Lear.

Keane has been an animator for Walt Disney Studios for 38 years and is noted for creating and animating very familiar characters such as Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” Aladdin, the beast from “Beauty and the Beast,” Pocahontas and Tarzan.

Lear continued, “He (Keane) is an absolute inspiration. I love everything he does. I thought if only there was a small chance that he sees my art, that would be amazing!”

For her future plans, Lear hopes to go into journalism or any field where she can write.

“Writing novels would be the dream,” she said.

Although Lear won the contest in West Virginia, it’s not over yet. There will be five national finalists chosen by public online vote. Each national finalist will win a $5,000 scholarship, a trip to Google headquarters in California to meet the Google doodlers, an android tablet, and a shirt with his or her doodle on it.

From the five national finalists, a panel of Google employees will select the grand prize winner. That person will win a$30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 Google for Education grant for his or her school, a trip to the Google Headquarters in California to meet the Google Doodlers, and the opportunity to nominate a teacher to come on the trip, a Chromebook, an Android tablet and a t-shirt printed with his or her doodle on it.

To vote for Lears doodle, visit www.google.com/doodle4google/vote.html#d=5-11