Each January, Google invites kindergarten through 12th-grade students to redesign the company logo based on a provided theme. For 2013, the Doodle 4 Google directions were simple: Illustrate your best day ever. Out of 130,000 submissions, a panel of nine guest judges—including TV host Katie Couric and the Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson—chose a poignant six-part design by Sabrina Brady, 18, a high school senior in Sparta, Wisconsin.
In it, a little girl carrying a small American flag runs toward a soldier. In the last panel, the soldier kneels down to envelop the girl in a hug. Brady’s caption reads, “When I was 10 years old, my dad came home from war. This was my best day ever.”
For her winning design, which graced the Google home page on May 23, Brady received a $30,000 college scholarship (she’s attending Minneapolis College of Art and
Design), a Google Chromebook computer, and other prizes. Sparta High School, from which Brady graduated in the spring, received a $50,000 technology grant.
“It’s a tough competition to judge,” says Google technologist Daniel Sieberg, part of a team that oversaw the competition, “but as soon as you see [Brady’s design], you can feel it.”