Toronto teen wins $10K prize in Google doodle contest with vision for Canada
Amara McLaughlin, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, June 13, 2017 10:47PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 14, 2017 8:06AM EDT
A Toronto high school student has been crowned Google Canada royalty for the day after sharing her creative vision for the country.
Jana Sofia Panem, a grade 11 student at Madonna Catholic Secondary School, won a nationwide contest for young artists to design a Google doodle – the banner atop the search engine’s homepage.
“I was so excited, but I think my parents were more excited about it than me,” she told CTV News on Tuesday. “I remember my dad jumping in the room when he found out I won.”
Panem’s design titled ‘A Bright Future’ will be featured Wednesday. She plans to stay up until midnight to watch the page transform.
“The theme is how do you see Canada in 150 years and I said, ‘I see a bright future,’” Panem told CP24. “I worked with that title. I already had a picture in my head so first I sketched it and then drew it on a computer digitally.”
In an era marked by concerns about climate change and geopolitical uncertainty, Panem’s illustration struck a sunny tone. The design features a flower garden, a wind turbine and the Earth set against a starry night.
Panem says she was inspired by Canada’s achievements – each individual letter standing out.
“The ‘G’ could represent how we preserve nature; the ‘O’ could represent a lightbulb because it was invented by Canadians; the other ‘O’ could represent how Canada is connected to the world by how it connects to every letter; the ‘G’ could represent our commitment to recycling; the ‘L’ represents wind power and energy; and finally the ‘E’ represents electronics, the internet and education,” she explained.
More than 12,000 students from across the country submitted pieces in the second annual Doodle 4 Google contest. The online competition gathered more than 400,000 votes.
As part of her prize, Panem receives a $10,000 university scholarship, a $10,000 technology grant for her school, alongside a new laptop.
Three other student artists will take home prizes for winning their respective grade groups. They'll get $5,000 technology grants for their schools.
Panem plans to study graphic or video game design at university.