OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Google went searching for some of the most creative young artists in the country. On Tuesday, the company announced that it found one of those talented students in Ocean Springs. A fifth grader has won the "Doodle-4-Google" contest in Mississippi. He needs your vote to win the national competition.
Many fifth graders in the auditorium had no idea which one of their classmates was about to be honored by Google. After a video presentation and speeches, Google representatives finally made the big announcement.
"Drum roll, next slide please. There is it!" the lady announced.
Eleven-year-old Tanner Keith's name popped up on the screen.
"It feels really, really good and exciting," said Tanner.
Back in March, Tanner and 49 other students at Ocean Springs Upper Elementary entered the "Doodle-4-Google" competition. They had the opportunity to redesign the Google logo. This year's theme is "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place." More than 100,000 students across the country submitted their designs.
"We want to encourage creativity through art work and doodling, but we also want to engage them in exploration of technology," said Liz Raschke of Google.
Tanner's artwork, "Solar System Protector," depicts an invention that would destroy asteroids in space, shield the sun, and protect the Earth.
"All I thought about was space and science and stuff and put all the stuff I love into my Doodle-4-Google," said Tanner.
When asked if he got the idea from science class or from his parents, Tanner replied, "Um, online."
"He had the wonderful physics art that he created, but more importantly, if he could invent anything, he really dreamed big. I think that's what our judges like to see," said Raschke.
For winning at the state level, Tanner received a bunch of prizes, including a design tablet and T-shirts for every fifth grader featuring his award-winning drawing. He'll also get to spend five days working with doodlers at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.
"I think I'm going to work on making friends with the Google people," said Tanner.
"I can't think of a more deserving young man than Tanner. He's just an all around good kid. I'm just so excited for him," said art teacher Brad Allen.
Tanner is now in the running for the national title and a chance to have his doodle displayed on the Google homepage on June 9 for hundreds of millions of eyes to see. But he's competing against 49 other state winners.
You can help Tanner Keith win by voting online from now until May 9 on this site: http://www.google.com/doodle4google/vote.html
The public vote will determine the five national finalists (one in each grade group).
Google will then announce the five finalists and one national winner on May 21 at an awards ceremony at its headquarters in Mountain View, California, which all 50 state winners will be invited to attend.
The winner will also take home a $30,000 college scholarship and his or her school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant towards the establishment and improvement of a computer lab or technology program.