JHS Student Wins State ‘Doodle for Google’ Competition


Gwenith Madhan is already the best in Oklahoma, and now she’s aiming to earn a national title.
Madhan, who is entering her sophomore year at Jenks High School, was recently selected as the state winner of the national “Doodle for Google” competition. The 15-year old is one of 54 finalists from around the United States competing for a grand prize of a $30,000 scholarship, $50,000 of technology for her school, Google hardware, and the honor of having her artwork displayed on Google.com for one day.
“Everyone in my family knew for a couple months that I was the Oklahoma winner, but I had no idea until a couple of days ago,” remarked Madhan. “I came home and there was someone from Google at my door with balloons and big box. I was so excited, and I definitely did not expect anything like this to happen. I think I’m still in shock.”
Entrants into the competition were asked to create a doodle based on their answer to the question of how they show kindness. Madhan immediately thought about social media and how too often, kindness can be absent from the dialogue, especially among teenagers. She created her doodle to appear as different social media platforms with the Google letters as people with hearts for hands. After initially sketching her vision on paper, Madhan used a digital artist app to create a cleaner version. She wanted the Google letters to spread kindness to each other while using a bright color palette of pink, blue, green, and yellow.
“I based my doodle on the idea of positivity and acceptance,” said Madhan, who has been drawing since she was three years old. “I always do my best to speak out on social media if I see people spreading rumors or bullying. I want to spread the message that positivity is not hard. It is free to promote, and it can have a great effect on people’s lives. I didn’t want to show a random act of kindness, but instead, something people can do every single day.”
From the field of 54 state/territory winners, online voting helped determine the five national finalists before one national winner is declared.
The five national finalists will each receive a $5,000 scholarship as well as a trip to Google headquarters. The celebrity judges for the 2020 competition are Lilly Singh, award-winning creator and entertainer, Rodney Robinson, the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, and Mari Andrew, an illustrator and best-selling author. To assist the judges, voting was open to the public from Aug. 17 through, Aug 21.
Madhan, who has been attending Jenks Public Schools since third grade, says she is considering a career in art or a place where she can change the world in a positive way. She has yet to allow herself to think about what it would be like to win the “Doodle for Google” competition.
“I think I would go into absolute shock,” Madhan said. “It would be crazy.”