Kaysville • If it was possible to die of embarrassment, Kaylee Tanner would be a goner.
She found herself standing under a balloon arch in front of her fellow students — face red, fight or flight response active, and all because of a little doodle.
She was named a finalist in the Doodle 4 Google competition, and being at the center of attention for the shy 17-year-old who is homeschooled but takes four courses at Davis High School.
On May 2, the school had an assembly to honor Kaylee’s accomplishment of being named as the state’s only finalist in the competition.
“I hate being in front of people, and that was a lot of people to be in front of, it was so embarrassing,” Kaylee said.
It was almost as painful for her equally shy art teacher, Michael Aitken, who stood beside her.
“She looked like she was about to bolt and run, and if she did I was right behind her,” Aitken said.
Along with her father, Kaylee is headed to New York City on May 22, where the winner of the national Doodle 4 Google competition will be announced. The winner is based on how many votes the doodles receive. Voters can visit www.google.com/doodle4google to vote. Click here to see Kaylee’s doodle. Google is tallying votes until May 10 at 6 p.m.
The nationwide winner will have their artwork appear on Google homepage and win a $30,000 scholarship and his or her school will receive a $50,000 technology grant for the establishment or improvement of a computer lab or technology program.
Third grade was the first time Kaylee entered the Doodle 4 Google competition. She had forgotten about the competition, but as she researched scholarships, she remembered and decided to give it another try. She submitted her doodle on March 23, the final day the competition was open.
The theme for the competition open to K-12 students in the United States was to exercise their creative imaginations around the theme, “My Best Day Ever…” Kaylee loves wildlife, and she particularly loves to draw elephants. The doodle was born.
The biggest challenge was incorporating the Google logo into her doodle. Kaylee debated between working the words into the jungle but decided to incorporate them into a stone wall. Using her favorite media, color pencil and ink, she spent three or four evenings working on her drawing.
When a representative from Google called Kaylee to tell her she was a finalist, he first reaction was confusion.
“It was a little awkward because I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand what I had won,” Kaylee said. When Kaylee’s mom, Deanne Tanner, got on the phone with the caller, Kaylee began to understand her drawing was the best in the state and was moving on to national competition.
Kaylee’s favorite part of being named a finalist is the reaction of others, particularly her family.
“It is fun to see how excited and proud they are,” Kaylee said.
Deanne Tanner has always known her daughter was talented.
“I was very, very surprised that she actually won such a high honor,” she said. “Of course we have always known how talented she is, but we were just excited that others thought so, too.”
Kaylee plans to attend Brigham Young University in the fall and hopes to transfer to Colorado State her sophomore year. She plans to major in music and wildlife biology. After her success with Google, she may change her major to illustrating wildlife biology.
Still, Kaylee is overwhelmed and embarrassed by all the fuss.
“I didn’t realize this was such a big deal,” she said.
A little doodle history
The first Google Doodle came about in 1998 when Google founders placed a stick figure behind the second “o” to symbolize they were out of the office. In 2000 ,webmaster Dennis Hwang produced a doodle for Bastille Day, and so a tradition was born. Since that time, the Google doodlers have doodled more than 1,500 doodles for the homepage.