Baltimore, MD – A fifth grader at a Silver Spring, Maryland Orthodox day school has been chosen as a finalist in the annual Doodle 4 Google contest, putting her one step closer to winning not only a $50,000 technology grant for her school but also a $30,000 college scholarship.
Eleven year old Johanna Robinson of Brookville was chosen as the Maryland winner in the fourth and fifth grade category. Over 114,000 entries were submitted in the contest which offers students in kindergarten through twelfth grade the opportunity to submit designs for the Google logo which appears on the site’s homepage. 250 finalists were chosen from the entries, with one finalist per age category per state. Public vote at the Doodle 4 Google website will determine one winner per age group, with a panel of judges choosing the final winner at an awards ceremony to be held in New York on May 17th.
In keeping with this year’s theme “If I could travel in time, I’d visit…” Johanna’s design, titled “Weaving My Past”, depicts sewing and needlework, reminiscent of that done by her Hungarian ancestors. Johanna, the oldest of four, is named for her great great grandmother who came from Hungary and according to her mother, two of the items Johanna drew were inspired by items that are located in her bedroom.
“Johanna’s teachers say that she is a good writer and a terrific artist but, more importantly, she has such beautiful middos,” Rachel Robinson told VIN News. “When she found out that she was one of the finalists she took the news so modestly. Her whole attitude was so beautiful and we are so proud of her.”
While the Torah Day School of Greater Washington was a little leery of allowing Google representatives to come to the school and conduct an assembly in Johanna’s honor, Rabbi Yitzchak Charner, headmaster of the school, said he found the Google representatives extremely cooperative, holding two separate assemblies so that no student would miss out on any Limudei Kodesh time.
“I had to explain to them that not only do we discourage our children from using the internet, many families have no internet access at home,” said Rabbi Charner. “They were more than happy to work with us, even editing one of their videos in order to better accommodate our standards of tzniyus.”
Rabbi Charner turned the assembly into a learning experience for the students, reminding them that they each have their own innate talents.
“I told the kids that while we see a product that Johanna made that is very beautiful and indicative of her artistic abilities, the important thing to remember is that we all have different talents that Hakadosh Baruch Hu has given us and we have an obligation to use them in a constructive way to benefit klal yisroel and the world,” explained Rabbi Charner.
In addition to the six foot by four foot mockup of Johanna’s drawing that was presented to the school by Doodle 4 Google, Google provided two hundred t-shirts featuring Johanna’s drawing. The entire fifth grade wore the t-shirts during the assembly and the remainder were distributed throughout the school after the assembly.
“The Google people brought twenty five balloons for Johanna and as it turns out, there are exactly twenty five girls in Johanna’s class,” reported Rabbi Charner. “Johanna made sure that each one of them went home with a balloon that day. She really is an amazing girl.”
Voting for the five national finalists continues through 8 PM Thursday night at the Doodle 4 Google website. To vote for Johanna’s design, benefitting both Johanna and the Torah School or Greater Washington., click here. (http://www.google.com/doodle4google/vote.html#d=d2-5)