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Junior Emma Vejcik in Google Doodle competition

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Junior Emma Vejcik sits poised over her paper – her fingers a rainbow of colors seeping into the lines etched in her fingers and palms, creating a vibrant tie-dye as she adds the finishing touch to her painting. Outside, she vaguely hears the blast of the all-too familiar horn, the sound a distant melody as she stays focused on the task at hand.

Although Vejcik dabbled in art at Brooks Middle School, and has always enjoyed art, her first art foundatiion class at OPRF opened Vejcik’s eyes to art’s boundless opportunities. Since then, she has been hooked, taking 2D art and drawing,  loving the ability of creating two-dimensional artwork that still seems to have a life of its own – with its vibrant colors and intricate shapes.

Vejcik has recently been chosen as a state finalist in the nationwide Google Doodle competition. Google Doodle, which has taken place every year since 2008, attracts students K-12th grade. The competition is unique – Vejcik describes it as a “nationwide art competition where you can redesign the google logo based on a theme. The theme this year was Vision for the Future.”

Vejcik decided to enter on a whim, saying, “Why not go for it?”

Mark Collins, an art teacher at OPRF, was a dominant player in helping Vejcik discover her love of 2D art.  He enjoyed helping her unlock her potential because of her “very active imagination.” “Her mind is nimble and curious,” he said.

Decaro firmly agrees with Collins’ laudable sediments, saying, Vejcik “has a strong work ethic, and she never gives up no matter what…she is a problem-solver.” Vejcik has a different word to describe her connection  to OPRF’s art program: “grateful.”

Vejcik’s related curiosity and perseverance shone through in the competition, although Vejcik laughs when she says, “It has been stressful…not knowing where I am in the voting, and needing to promote myself [in the school],” since she had to gain votes to secure a winning position.

As for the image that caught Google’s attention, Vejcik says she “Since I live next to a train line, I wanted to incorporate this more personal piece into my drawing.”

As the El train bustles past her window each morning, its harsh whistle is something Vejcik is quite familiar with.

Because of her morning wakeup call, Vejcik decided to portray a daily image in her life with the change she wanted to see in the world.  Her illustration depicts “An L-Evated Future.” Vejcik used watercolor and ink to depict a “futuristic train station,” complete with robust spectrum of colors and gears, switches, and tracks, the viewer seems to fall into the painting. Vejcik said her design took her a mere “couple hours.”

The competition has high stakes – the national winner receive many benefits: a trip to the Google headquarters in California, a chromebook, an android, a $30,000 scholarship to college, and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school or a non-profit of his or her choice.

National finalists will also head off to California, taking along a complimentary android and chromebook. They will also receive a $5,000 scholarship.

The 48 territory and state finalists have their work featured online in the Google Doodle gallery, and are given an Adroid tablet as well.

The national winner will be released March 31.

Decaro, voices how proud she is of her friend. “I’m hoping she wins and gets the recognition she deserves.”

When Vejcik looks to her future she says,  “I am hoping to incorporate art and creativity in whatever field I plan to go into.” Vejcik is grateful to OPRF  for helping her discover something that adds so more color to her life today. As Decaro points out, “…She (Vejcik) can bring creativity to whatever situation she is in.”

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Junior Emma Vejcik in Google Doodle competition