Flying in from San Francisco, Google Diversity Specialist Laurie Bennett helped surprise Antilles School sixth-grader Gabrielle Baa with some exciting news: out of thousands of entries, Gabrielle’s was recently selected as the territorial winner of the annual Google for Doodle competition.
The news was announced during a special Middle and Upper School assembly held on campus Thursday, with Gabrielle’s classmates, teachers, and family present.
According to a release from Antilles School, Gabrielle is among the 54 state and territory winners whose Doodles will soon be going live on the search engine’s main page and entered into the final phase of the competition, for a chance to win a $30,000 scholarship. Details on how to vote will soon be released, Bennett said.
Asked about her Doodle, which reflected this year’s theme of “self-care,” Gabrielle said she incorporated some of her favorite activities, such as drawing and dancing, along with some of the things she hopes to do in the future, such as visit Paris. Bennett also recognized Antilles’ Middle and Upper School art teacher Diane Holmberg with an Arts Education Appreciation Award from the company.
“On behalf of the Antilles School community, I proudly congratulate Gabby on this exciting honor. Seeing her face light up and hearing the thunderous applause from her peers following the announcement – it was truly a fantastic moment to witness, and we’re grateful for programs like Doodle for Google, which allows students to showcase their creativity,” said Antilles’ Head of School Shannon Harris. “We also deeply appreciate art educators like Diane Holmberg, who continue to inspire our students to explore these platforms for expression.”
While the contest has been ongoing for 14 years, submissions from the territory were not always eligible. Hoping to change the requirements, former Antilles history teacher Andrea Gilbert, in 2019, had her seventh graders create entries for the competition celebrating V.I.-Puerto Rico Friendship Day, which were sent to Google along with a letter from the class asking that students from the territory be allowed to participate.
Seeing one of the Doodle entries profiled online, Antilles alumna Sara Smollett ’98 shared the story with her colleagues at Google, and a few months later, the company announced the inclusion of the USVI in the contest. In 2020, Ajay Mirpuri ’26 was announced as Doodle for Google’s first territorial winner.