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Vote for five national finalists in the annual Doodle4Google contest

Ken Wolter /123rf
It’s that time of year again, friends — that magical time when the Internet joins forces to celebrate the artistic talents of our youngsters. Google is hosting its annual Doodle4Google contest, and 53 state and territory winners have now been selected from “the many incredible doodles entered in this year’s competition.” From now until February 22, 2016, you have the chance to vote for your five favorites to advance as national finalists. When all is said and done, we’ll have one winner, and his or her artwork will be granted a pretty major audience as it makes its official debut on the Google homepage.

As per usual, works are separated by age group, with kindergarten through third grade lumped together, then fourth and fifth grade, sixth and seventh grade, eight and ninth, and finally, 10th through 12th grades. Astonishingly, this is the eighth year that Google has hosted this creative contest, with the first ever Doodle4Google launched in 2008. And it’s not just in the United States that students are invited to participate — Google notes that the “contest takes place in many other countries throughout the year as well.”

This year’s theme is “What makes me … me,” and students have been encouraged to highlight their individuality through their work. “There are a million and one facts, interests, and quirks that make everyone unique,” Google says. “For centuries, artists have created paintings, sculptures, self-portraits, and more to offer insights into their personalities and values.” And now, the tech giant is urging young people across the nation to do the same, sharing their passions, interests, and quirks with a broader audience.

Doodles, which have become a mainstay and source of great inspiration and delight on Google’s homepage, have been known to highlight key people and events, and this annual contest is met with great excitement from kids of all ages. Plus, the winner’s prize package is pretty sweet — it includes a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 Google for Education grant for his or her school, a trip to Google HQ, a Chromebook, and Android tablet, and of course, a T-shirt with the winning doodle.

So get to voting, friends, and pick which doodle Google will feature.

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