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Hailie Lee's doodling in class, which once got her in trouble with teachers, now has won her an all-expenses-paid trip to New York next week and a shot at a major prize from Google.
Miss Lee, a Sylvania Southview High School junior, is one of 40 finalists in a contest to design an artistic rendering of the well-known Internet search engine's title on its Web site's home page.
Her computer-drawn design of the word "Google" made from musical imagery - an amplifier, guitars, a sound cable, a keyboard, and a musical note - was chosen by a panel of judges as among the best from about 33,000 entries nationwide.
"Those don't look like math notes," Miss Lee recalled being told by a teacher concerning doodles she had been caught drawing in her notebooks during lectures.
But now, she said, doodling could potentially pay off big.
Big, as in a $15,000 scholarship for the winner, to be announced at a ceremony May 26 in New York, plus $25,000 for the winner's school to spend on computer equipment.
Miss Lee and her parents will fly to New York on Tuesday to attend the event.
"I'm really excited for the school," Miss Lee said after being recognized on stage yesterday morning at the start of Southview's annual student-awards assembly.
"[The] $25,000 towards our technology would be just great," she added.
The designs are posted on Google's Web site for national voting, which continues through Tuesday.
The public voting will choose finalists for each of four age groups.
Miss Lee's design is competing against nine other contestants in grades 10 through 12.
"I got up at 6 a.m. and I voted," said Tracie Lee, Miss Lee's mother, who, with other relatives, was present when Google representatives called Miss Lee up to the stage at Southview's ceremony to explain her design.
"I am just beside myself," Mrs. Lee said, adding that while the school contacted her about the trip earlier last week, Google's call Friday evening to the Lee household was "when it was real.
"For her, this is just amazing," her mother said.
Google is known for displaying its name on its home page in special designs to commemorate holidays and other special occasions. The "Doodle 4 Google" competition, now in its third year, invites contestants to develop a Google name display that follows a particular theme.
This year's competition theme is, "If I Could Do Anything, I Would…" and Miss Lee wrote that she would strive to "spread the knowledge of music throughout the world."
Miss Lee said she chose her concept because music is her personal stress reliever, and musical expression can be inspirational and "helps to save lives, and keep people moving toward their goals."
She plays guitar and writes her own music as one of several creative outlets in her life.
While she hopes to study alternative-energy engineering at the University of Toledo, Miss Lee said she would likely minor in art or computer-generated design to nourish her artistic side too.
The title Miss Lee used on her design, "Phillips," is a tribute to her best friend, Southview sophomore Marissa Phillips, whom Miss Lee credits with being "my go-to person to talk to" whenever times get tough.
"I didn't know it meant that much to her," Marissa said after noting that the name "started as a joke" between the two girls. "I thought it was pretty cool. I went home and told my parents about it. It's so exciting."
After the public vote narrows the field to four, Google's judges will choose the overall winning design. The winning design will be displayed on the Google home page on May 27, while the work of all 40 finalists will be exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York from May 27 until July 8.
Miss Lee and about 200 other Southview students created their entries during art or design classes at the school, said Byron Jones, the school's graphic-design teacher.
Staff then chose six, the maximum number of entries allowed, to submit to Google.
The judging panel, assembled by Google and including well-known cartoonists, animators, and illustrators, first narrowed the entries to 400 state finalists and then 40 regional finalists, 10 in each of four age groups.
Miss Lee said her design's success should encourage people to "pursue their dreams."
"The little things count," she said. "This was just a small assignment, and look where it is now."
Yet Miss Lee balked at encouraging any and all to cast votes for her design on the Google Web site.
"People should, in all honesty, vote for the one they like the best," she said.
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