published Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Dayton student named Tennessee's Doodle 4 Google finalist

Google sales representative Courtney Fennell talks with Dayton City School's third-grader Annaliese Tester, 9, about her "Clean our world with Litterbot" drawing for the Doodle 4 Google national competition.
Google sales representative Courtney Fennell talks with Dayton City School's third-grader Annaliese Tester, 9, about her "Clean our world with Litterbot" drawing for the Doodle 4 Google national competition.
Photo: Kimberly McMillian

DAYTON, Tenn. — Dayton City School third-grader Annaliese Tester will compete with 49 finalists from other states in the national Doodle 4 Google drawing competition May 21 in Mountain View, Calif.

Tester, 9, was honored Tuesday afternoon at a special school assembly. She hugged her father and said that seeing "how happy my dad is" was a highlight of her win and upcoming trip to California.

Doodle 4 Google's 2014 theme, "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place," encouraged innovative expressions involving redesigning the company's logo. Dayton City School has taken part in the annual competition for five years, and Principal Linda Abel said Annaliese's honor makes "two [times] in four years" the school has had a national finalist.

Annaliese, who said art teacher Nela Swiney helped her with developing her "Clean our world with Litterbot" entry, encouraged future artists to "always try your best, and don't give up."

Swiney, who has a marketing background, said 75 students at the school from all age groups had submitted essay ideas or drawings, and those were narrowed down to 40 submissions. She said 25 students then worked with her for five weeks to finalize their original concepts and design their Google lettering with plausible backgrounds.

Google sales representative Courtney Fennell said the Doodle 4 Google competition aims to celebrate things relevant in the world and allows the "merging of simplicity with innovation."

Fennell said that this year's national winner may have the opportunity to learn about how Google designers use hand sketches to create the animated themes the company uses on its website.

Tester's parents Jason and Erica helped her brainstorm ideas during a family outing, but they said that she had drawn the original artwork within five minutes of their discussion.

The national finalist will win a $30,000 college scholarship, while the school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant toward the establishment and improvement of a computer lab or technology program.

For more information about voting, log onto doodle4google.com or daytoncity.net.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.

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