Calgary students compete for Google Doodle glory

Calgary students are among the top 25 finalists in a national competition that has them vying to be Google Doodle artists.

Several local youngsters among finalists for $10K prize in national competition

Calgary students are among the top 25 finalists in a national competition that has them vying to be Google Doodle artists.

Doodle 4 Google is a national competition inviting young people from Kindergarten to Grade 12 to redesign the Google logo.

The winning doodle will be featured on the homepage for 24 hours. The winning student will also receive a $10,000 scholarship and other prizes. In addition, the student’s school will get a $10,000 grant.

Amy Wu's entry in the national Google Doodle competition made her one of 25 finalists. (Nadia Stewart/CBC)

The contest has been open to children in the United States for several years, but this is its first year in Canada.

The theme for the inaugural year invites youngsters to finish the sentence, “If I could invent anything, I would invent…”

Google spokesperson Wendy Bairos says the question is inspired by one of Google's driving philosophies.

“It really brought together the essence and the values and everything that we think about at Google, in the sense of how do you think beyond today. How do you think big, dream big but then how do you also add an element of art and beauty to everything that we do,” said Bairos.

All five of the nominees in the Prairie region hail from Alberta:

  • Aydin Hirji, a Calgary student at Delta West Academy.
  • Sahil Brar, a Calgary student at FFCA North Middle School.
  • Lovepreet Singh Dhaliwal, a Calgary student at FFCA North Middle School.
  • Amy Wu, a Calgary student at Tom Baines School.
  • Xusheng Yu, an Edmonton student at St. Francis Xavier school.

News of the nomination came as a surprise for Grade 9 student Amy Wu.

“I was eating breakfast and I had my phone to check and I just jumped up and down screaming,” says Wu.

Aydin Hirji’s parents, Altaf and Naina, had a similar reaction when they found out their son had been nominated.

“Shock! Jubilation! It’s very surreal. I still can't believe — well I shouldn't say that, I mean I believe he won and did a great job but it’s very surreal I think. We're really proud of him,” said Aydin’s father Altaf Hirji.

Hirji says the scholarship would be a great investment in his son’s education in the future. If his son wins, Hirji hopes the school will use the money in an inspiring way.

“I think probably just to encourage other kids and to develop programs for other kids to do what they're passionate about and what they like doing and whatever it is, they just do the best they can at it. But anything that fuels their passion, I think, at the end of the day,” says Hirji.

People can vote for their favourite Google Doodleuntil Feb. 14. The winner will be announced on Feb. 28.