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‘If I Could Do Anything, I Would …’

By Staff | May 18, 2010

If 15-year-old Tyler Worden could do anything, the Cape Coral teen would … be a comic book designer.
That dream, combined with some creative thinking and an understanding of graphic design software, has landed the Island Coast High School freshman a regional finalist spot in a contest hosted by Google. The Doodle 4 Google art contest challenged students in kindergarten through 12th grade to create a Google doodle inspired by the theme, “If I Could Do Anything, I Would … “
A doodle is the logo design that periodically appears on the Google home page to celebrate special events and holidays, according to a prepared statement.
Tyler is one of 40 regional finalists in the nationwide competition. His doodle took elements found in a comic book, and he used them to create the letters of “Google.” For example, one “G” is a sketch on a piece of notebook paper, one “O” is a word bubble and the “L” is scribbled in lead, complete with a pencil.
Tyler was recognized Tuesday morning during an assembly at the school.
“I was extremely surprised,” he said of learning that he is a regional finalist.
“I was just trying to get a good grade,” Tyler laughed.
The teen is enrolled in the school’s digital design academy. The academy’s lead teacher, Christina McDaniel, encourages her students to participate in various contests during the year. This is the school’s first digital design to receive national recognition, but students have won other contests before.
“It’s phenomenal,” McDaniel said of Tyler’s placement in the Google contest. “It’s our first recognition of this magnitude.”
She explained that the contests give the students real-world experience, mimics what they would encounter in the design industry and helps them make connections in the community and the design industry for the future.
“And the recognition is fantastic for their portfolios,” McDaniel added.
Tyler’s parents, Jim and Denise Worden, were present at the assembly.
“We’re very proud,” Denise Worden said. “It’s very exciting.”
She gave a lot of credit to McDaniel and the school.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” Worden said. “It’s such a surprise.”
McDaniel noted that this is Tyler’s first year working with digital design.
Assistant Principal Shelley Kepler voiced her amazement as well.
“I think what’s so amazing is he’s so talented for his age,” she said. “We’re extremely excited and extremely proud for the instructor and the student.”
According to Google, the company received more than 33,000 contest entries. The 40 regional finalists are invited to an awards ceremony May 26 at Google’s New York office, where the four national finalists and the national winner will be announced. To vote for the winners, visit www.google.com/doodle4google.
Tyler explained Tuesday that he started off with two sketches for his doodle. After settling on one, he used Adobe Illustrator to recreate the design in color. It took about two days to complete the doodle, he said.
“This is really simple compared to my other work,” Tyler said.
He added that digital design provides him with an artistic outlet.
“I’m able to express my ideas without any extraordinary skills with a pencil,” Tyler said.
The online voting runs until May 25 at 8 p.m.
The doodles of the 40 regional finalists will be showcased in a national exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution in New York City from May 27-July 8. The winning doodle will be displayed on Google’s home page on May 27, and the student will win a $15,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for his or her school.
“The whole staff at Island Coast High School, we encourage students to push themselves and dream big,” Kepler said. “You can’t win if you don’t try.”