Doodling has paid off for a New London boy.
Henry Vetsch, 13, found out this week that a drawing he made in March was selected as the winning entry for Minnesota in the “Doodle for Google” competition.
The national winner, which is selected through online voting that begins Monday, walks away with a $30,000 scholarship and their drawing on the Google homepage for millions of people to see.
The contest was open to K-12 students across the United States, who were asked to submit original artwork inspired by the theme “I show kindness by …”
Henry submitted his drawing, made with pens and alcohol ink markers, of people engaged in acts of kindness with the Google letters decorated to look like cobblestones in the background.
There’s a person giving another a high-five, someone is planting a tree, a kid is joyfully releasing a butterfly and there’s a dad with a boy on his shoulders.
“Just simple little kind things that you can do every day,” said Henry, describing his artwork.
Google has selected 54 state and territory winners in its 12th annual Doodle for Google competition, which generated thousands of entries.
Typically these announcements are made with fanfare at the 54 winners’ schools but because of the coronavirus pandemic the announcements took a different look this year, according to information from Google.
Henry’s parents, Anne Dybsetter and Jeff Vetsch, had been notified earlier that their son, who will be going into eighth grade this fall at New London-Spicer Middle School, had won.
But Henry didn’t find out until a surprise delivery from Google – and a small group of spectators – arrived at his house late Monday afternoon.
Katie Olson, from Paws Floral in Atwater, served as the Google surrogate to deliver the good news. Donning a Google shirt she was asked to wear during the presentation, Olson cheerfully announced that Henry was the Doodle for Google winner as the wide-eyed boy came out of his house and stepped into the front yard.
Was he surprised?
“Yep,” said Henry with an earnest ear-to-ear grin as he clutched a T-shirt that had his drawing printed on it. It was a gift from Google, along with a huge bouquet of colorful balloons and a box of swag, including a new electronic tablet.
Google even made a personalized video for Vetch, announcing that he was Minnesota’s winner in the competition.
Did he think he had a chance of winning?
“Not really, but I’d hoped for it,” he said.
A part of life
Art has always been a part of Henry’s life.
“He’s always had good spatial reasoning and good composition skills,” said Vetsch, Henry’s dad.
“And just growing up in New London where there are so many artists, doing art was just normal for him. He never felt weird,” Vetsch said. “He doesn’t feel like he stands out in any way for doing art. He just enjoys doing it.”
A collection of artwork from his sketchbook shows Henry’s unique skills and imagination.
“He just makes stuff up. He likes to be creative,” said Vetsch.
NLS art teacher Kari Weber, who taught Henry art in fifth grade, said she could tell early on that Henry had unusual talent.
“As a student, his talent was shown right from the start,” said Weber, who was at the announcement party. “He really has that dedication to do great things and I can’t wait to see what else he does.”
Henry, who designed a beautifully crafted backyard building he and his dad made, said he wants to be an architect when he grows up.
“I like designing and I like building a lot too,” said Henry, whose involvement with art also includes playing violin.
Voting begins Monday
In the next stage of the contest, the public can vote for their favorite Doodle from the 54 state and territory winners during a five-day stretch that begins Monday, Aug. 17, and ends Friday, Aug. 21. Voting takes place on the Doodle for Google website: doodle4google.com. (Note:The website isn’t open for voting until Monday.)
Five finalists will be selected, with each of those five winners receiving a $5,000 scholarship, Google hardware and other gifts.
The national winner gets a $30,000 college scholarship and their school receives a $50,000 tech package toward the establishment or improvement of a computer lab or technology program.