Before she was gunned down with her classmates, 10-year-old Alithia Haven Ramirez, of Uvalde, Texas, wanted to be an artist who shared her creations with the world.
Google is obliging.
Earlier this year, the search giant asked students to submit entries for its Doodle for Google contest. The winner will take home some big prizes and see their artwork atop Google.com for 24 hours.
Google has posted thousands of Doodles on its page, honoring everything from the Burning Man festival and Pac-Man to scientist Marie Curie and slugger Roberto Clemente. Tuesday’s Doodle heralded what would’ve been the 113th birthday of Indian poet Balamani Amma, considered the “grandmother of Malayalam literature.”
The Doodle for Google contest, now in its 14th year, allows kids “to display their own Doodle creativity on Google.com and win some awesome prizes while doing it!” the company says. This year’s theme is self-care.
Alithia entered her drawing ahead of the March deadline: a girl on a sofa with two balls of yarn and a pet, the obligatory “Google” spelled out in art on the wall over the couch.
“I want the world to see my art and show the world what I can do, I want people to be happy when they see my passion in art,” she said in her submission.
In May, a gunman opened fire in Robb Elementary School, killing 19 children, including Alithia, and two adults. It was 12 hours before Ryan Ramirez, Alithia’s father, learned her fate, he told CNN.
The fourth grader was “very lovable and kind,” he said, and she was always there if anyone needed anything.
Alithia also loved to draw, Ramirez said, and “always had a crayon in hand, just going to town.” When Ramirez met with President Joe Biden during his visit to Uvalde, the commander in chief told him he’d be hanging one of Alithia’s drawings in the White House.
Her grandmother, Rosa Maria Ramirez, confirmed to ABC News that Alithia had entered the Doodle for Google competition.
“She was a very talented little girl. She loved to draw. She was real sweet, never getting into trouble,” the grandmother told the network. “She was drawing to be able to put her drawing in the Google. She was trying to win the Google (contest).”
Actress/singer Selena Gomez, mental health activist Elyse Fox and 2021 teacher of the year Juliana Urtubey served as judges, narrowing the field down to 54 state and territorial winners, and Google users voted on the five finalists who will be announced next week.
Unfortunately, Alithia’s sketch did not advance to the final rounds of the contest, but Google opted to highlight her work nonetheless, prominently displaying her drawing on a special memorial page created for her and the other Uvalde victims.
Expressing condolences for the friends and family of all victims, Google spokesperson Colette Garcia explained, “In Alithia Ramirez’s 2022 Doodle for Google submission, she described her desire to show the world her art and everything she can do, and we’re committed to honoring those wishes and her legacy. Her story and art profoundly touched us, and we wanted to honor her family’s request to share her unique talents that were so tragically taken as a result of senseless violence.”
The five finalists will be announced July 28, and the winner in August, Garcia said in an email.
National finalists will receive a $5,000 college scholarship, and the winner will collect a $30,000 scholarship and a $50,000 technology package for her or his school, among other prizes.