Rocky Ford Freshman Wins State Title In 'Doodle 4 Google' Contest

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We’re all familiar with the “Google” homepage design.

Once a year Google holds their national “Doodle4Google” contest where students across the country get the chance to design their own Google image.

One winner from each state is selected to compete for the national title and prize. Our winner is right here in Southern Colorado.

Friday, an assembly was held at Rocky Ford Junior High School for Bonita Rael, a freshman at the school.

Google representatives flew in from San Francisco to present Bonita’s design to her classmates and award $2,500 to her art department. The principal kept the whole assembly a surprise.

Bonita was at a loss for words.

"I can't describe it. It was such a wonderful feeling...I can't believe that my principal would go through all this work just to put something together like this, and the Google team would come all the way from San Francisco to congratulate me. It's amazing,” she tells 11 News.

Kelly Lynch and Phil Paradise are Google representatives. They made a short presentation to the school before unveiling Bonita’s design.

"It's really rewarding to be able to interact with the community like this, the kids, and present something that they really should be proud of and it's obviously really representative of the community here,” said Paradise.

Each year the contest has a different theme, an aspect the judges also take into consideration while picking a winner for each state.

"The theme for this year was what makes me, me and I really wanted to express my Mexican culture through art because that's the way I love to express myself. Since dancing is such a beautiful thing in Mexican society I wanted to draw something about that," said Bonita.

The Google representatives say winning the state title is not an easy task.

"There were over 100,000 submissions from all the states and territories, so it takes a lot to win from each state. There's a bunch of different criteria," said Lynch.

Paradise continued, "Several rounds of looking through and evaluating not only from our internal Googlers, but also from celebrity judges like Steph Curry and Julie Bowen. So it's a very difficult, rigorous evaluation process, so it's something she should be extremely proud of."

The next step all relies on voting. If she receives enough votes she can win nationally for her age group of eighth and ninth graders. Then the celebrity judges will pick one national winner between the five age groups.

If Bonita wins she will receive a $30,000 scholarship to any college she chooses as well as a $50,000 tech grant to her high school.

“The point really being that technology can facilitate so much more. It can facilitate this sort of creativity that we’re looking for and that’s really the point of the competition as well. To really spot creativity through technology,” said Paradise.

Bonita tells 11 News she wants to pursue art in her future by working as a storyboard artist or video game illustrator. She says if she received the $30,000 scholarship, her dream school would be in NYC at the School of Visual Arts.

If you would like to vote for Bonita’s Google design click here: