Her favorite food is pizza. Her favorite animal, a dragon. When she grows up she wants to be a dog trainer, but for now, she’s a national finalist for the annual Google Doodle contest.

Alyssa Chisamore, 8, is a second-grader at Northeast Primary School. The Google Doodle contest is a nationwide competition run by Google where the winning doodle is featured as the company’s temporary logo on its homepage. Chisamore’s design features her favorite animal, and was selected among thousands.

Between June 3 and June 7, those who visit doodle4google.com can vote on which of the 53 finalists is the national winner of the contest.

Chisamore found out last Thursday she was the Vermont winner in the school’s gym, surrounded by her entire school, teachers and family members. All the students wore brightly colored Google T-shirts. Chisamore’s doodle was blown up onto a large banner, which she got to keep, and she was given a tote bag, a T-shirt bearing her doodle, a certificate and a Google Chromebook.

Lisa Hsiao, program manager for Google, and Richard Lee, a Google marketer, acted as masters of ceremonies for the event.

Hsiao told the students that Google employs a team of “doodlers” who make the company’s special logos. “People on the doodle4google team are not just engineers — they’re also artists. They’re researchers, and they’re designers,” she said, before playing a short video of Google doodlers talking about their work.

“Since 2008, we’ve asked students like you to draw doodles for us,” Lee said. “And that’s why we’re here today.”

He then told the students who the judges were for the state-level contest. Among them were Mandy Manning, who in 2018 was named teacher of the year by the Council of Chief State School Officers, for teaching English and math to refugee and immigrant students at the Newcomer Center at Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington. Another judge was Jimmy Fallon, host of the “Tonight Show” on NBC.

The children erupted with cheers when they learned Kermit the Frog, a Jim Henson Muppet, was among the three judges of their artwork.

Lee and Hsiao unveiled Chisamore’s victory with a series of hints, asking students to raise their hand if their favorite food was pizza, to keep their hand up if their favorite animal was a dragon, and if what they wanted to be when they grew up was a dog trainer. Many students appeared to fit that criteria, but it was Chisamore who’d won. Her victory was met with long, loud cheers and applause by her schoolmates.

“She likes coming to school, and she loves drawing,” said Trevor Chisamore, Alyssa’s father. “She’s constantly drawing.”

Alyssa said she didn’t know she was going to be the Vermont winner and was excited to learn she’d won. She said she also likes to draw dogs and characters from television. Her Google doodle took a few days to complete, she said.

“It’s two dragons flying in the sky,” she said, adding that she may want to be a designer now instead of a dog trainer.

Also present was Alyssa’s younger sister, Madison, age 6, and her oldest sister, Marissa, 21. Her mother, Jamie, was on hand as well, with what appeared to be other family and friends.

Alyssa said she’s not sure where she’ll hang the giant version of her doodle, which is larger than she is.

“I already have a bunch of things on my wall,” she said, adding that she may ultimately hang it in a hallway at home.

Alyssa’s art teacher, Nicole Graves, said this year the second-graders learned to draw in perspective and how to draw self-portraits.

“We spent about three weeks working on this, where I showed them past winners from doodle4google,” Graves said.

Graves said she knew about the contest and was inspired to present the opportunity to her students by seeing the work of some past winners.

If Alyssa Chisamore wins the national competition, Graves said, she’ll get a $30,000 college scholarship, while Northeast Primary School will get a $50,000 technology package, said Graves.

“She’s a naturally talented artist,” said Graves about Chisamore, whose art can be seen at the Chaffee Art Center as well as the halls of Northeast Primary School.

keith.whitcomb @rutlandherald.com

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