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WHS freshman competes in Google design contest

Woodbury High School freshman Ellen O'Connell was named a state finalist in the Doodle 4 Google art competition. The competition tasks students with designing a new Google logo based on the year's theme. This year students were asked they would time travel to; O'Connell said ancient Egypt.1 / 2
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If you Google Woodbury High School freshman Ellen O'Donnell's name you may just find some of her artwork.

O'Donnell recently participated in the Doodle 4 Google art competition, where kindergarten through 12th-grade students compete to use their artistic talents to redesign Google's homepage.

O'Connell's design was chosen as one of Minnesota's state finalists.

The nearly 114,000 submissions were then narrowed down to 100 and then 40 regional finalists were selected to compete for a $15,000 college scholarship and $25,000 technology grant for their school, as well as having their logo featured on the Google homepage.

O'Connell was not named a regional finalist.

"There were a lot of really amazing submissions," she said. "Just to be selected for anything is an honor."

O'Donnell's design, as well as the other four Minnesota finalists' artwork, will be on display at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Where would you time travel?

O'Connell said she first heard about the Doodle 4 Google competition last year, but it was this year that she decided to enter since it was an extra credit assignment for WHS art teacher Karen Seashore's art class.

"I like that the competition was very open ended," she said. "There's a lot of creative answers."

O'Connell said she has been doing art for about the past three years.

"It's very creative," she said. "There isn't really any wrong way of doing something."

Now in its fifth year, Doodle 4 Google assigns a theme for its young artists to depict, while still sticking with the basic "Google" icon.

This year's theme was "If I could travel in time, I'd visit ... "

O'Donnell's first immediate thought was ancient Egypt; however, she decided to brainstorm to see what else she could come up with.

"I always kept coming back to ancient Egypt," she said.

O'Connell said she was drawn to ancient Egypt for her theme because of all of the unanswered questions associated with the pyramids and King Tut's death.

"There's so much that isn't known that leaves a lot for a creative expression," she said.

O'Connell said she spent time on the Internet looking for the general shapes of the letters of "Google" in order to decide on which images to use.

Some of the images that O'Connell ultimately decided on included a pharaoh's head, a burial mask, the ankh, or key of life, and a cat.

O'Connell said she intends to compete in the Doodle 4 Google competition again next year.

"It was pretty fun," she said.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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