Park City High School sophomore wins state Doodle 4 Google contest

Park City High School sophomore Michal Patton poses for photos with her Doodle 4 Google design, which was printed on a cloth canvas and on a T-shirt that was gifted to her. She was announced as the state's first-place winner in her age category during an assembly on May 3.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record | The Park Record

The announcer from Google read the clues aloud. “The winner loves cats.” The Park City High School students looked around, in search of an obvious sign of a feline lover. “The winner has red hair.” They narrowed in on the few redheads in the crowd. “The winner is Michal Patton.”

As the students erupted in cheers, Patton stepped to the front to stand beside her artwork. Patton, a sophomore, won the Doodle 4 Google award in the state. She submitted a drawing of a campfire in the woods, with the word Google appearing in the smoke. She created the piece using the photo-editing software Adobe Photoshop.

Patton was recognized during a small assembly at the school on Thursday, May 3. Representatives from Google announced her win to the school and presented her with a plaque, Chromebook laptop computer and a T-shirt and bag emblazoned with Patton’s art.

Patton will continue in the competition against finalists from around the country. If she wins the national award, her art will be featured on Google and she will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. The high school or nonprofit of the student’s choice will also receive $50,000 in value toward the improvement of a computer lab or technology program.

Individuals can vote for Patton’s art until May 18. Those interested in voting can do so here.

Google has hosted the Doodle 4 Google competition for 10 years. The theme in 2018 is “What inspires me.” Patton said she spent weeks puzzling over what her inspiration is. She thought about portraying music through art until a memory popped into her head.

She was out in the woods with a big group at a bonfire. Sitting alone, she watched the fire and let her mind wander. A few other memories of quiet times in nature came to mind. Recalling that experience, she created her piece.

Along with her artwork, she submitted the words, “I am inspired by moments in a quiet night when I can let my thoughts roam. Daydreaming helps me relax and come up with new ideas.”

Patton learned that she won the state competition one month before the assembly. It came as a huge surprise, she said. She entered the competition the past two years but had never received recognition.

“It’s hard to describe just how exciting it was to realize, ‘Wow, I actually did something really important,’” she said. “I had not been expecting it at all.”

Kristin Davis, Patton’s aunt, attended the event to cheer her on. She said Patton has been creating art “since she was old enough to have paint in her hands.” She has one of Patton’s first finger paintings on her wall at home.

Patton’s mother, Stacy Patton, said she was glad to see her daughter be recognized for something that she is so passionate about.

“It’s really nice, because she is all about art,” she said.

Patton said the honor is still sinking in, but she is reminded every time she passes by a glass case at the school displaying her art. Each time she sees it, it makes her smile.

“I don’t want to forget this. I want to remember that when I was 16, I did something worthy of getting a multi-million dollar company’s attention,” she said. “I mean, that’s really cool.”

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