Sophia Biondolillo, a full-time student at VLACS, has a passion for art, so when her grandmother suggested that she enter a design contest for Google, she went right for it. Fast-forward a few months, Sophia was named the 2020 Doodle for Google New Hampshire State Finalists winner! As the state winner, she was awarded Google hardware and Google swag, but now Sophia is competing for the grand prize – a Google feature, $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology package for her school.
For Sophia, her enthusiasm for art has been ingrained in her ever since she could remember. "I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil," she recalled. At the early age of nine, she decided to take her art to the next level and pursue a career as an illustrator. "I'm interested in illustrating books because I think that the idea of creating a better, more exciting, more joyful world is what I love most about making art," Sophia said.
Sophia's mother, Amanda Bouldin, commented on her daughter's hard work and dedication to her craft, "Sophia is often complimented for being 'so talented', but I know through observation that Sophia has been pushing herself as an artist and investing her time into improving her artistic capabilities. Talent is hardly the source of her skill!"
Amanda continued by expressing how Sophia's VLACS experience has opened the door to opportunities that enrich her art education. "Sophia recently completed a career education course in which she needed to interview someone currently working in her chosen field. Because of this class, Sophia ended up befriending a local children's book illustrator, who shared so many insights about the industry. This professional also sent Sophia a signed copy of a children's book she had illustrated. This has been a tough year for so many people, but for Sophia, it's been absolutely charmed. We couldn't be more proud of her! She earned it," Amanda said.
Sophia's advisor at VLACS, Amanda Tombarelli, described her student as inquisitive, hard working and motivated. "Sophia absorbs information like a sponge. She sets goals for herself and then makes a plan for achieving those goals... She is respectful and so incredibly thoughtful. I was always very struck by her willingness to go outside of her comfort zone and try new things. I am so thrilled to see her sharing her artistic talents and skills to the world," she said.
When Sophia first heard that she was the state finalist for the Doodle for Google contest, she was overjoyed by the news. "I actually thought I had lost the Google Doodle at first! They were originally going to announce it in April, so when I never got a call, I assumed I had lost. When I heard I had actually won, I was really excited that they liked what I made! I also immediately thought of the college scholarship, because college is something I'm really excited about and have been planning for a long time," Sophia said.
Sophia will be competing against 54 state and territory winners from around the country. Now that the doodles are published, the public can vote for their favorite design! After voting concludes, a panel of Google doodler artists and three guest judges will review each participants' votes and score their designs on artistic skill, creativity, and theme communication.
Sophia shared how her VLACS education has prepared her for this exciting moment. "The flexibility that VLACS gives me has allowed me to really focus on my career path, explore my passions, and learn the skills that I'll actually need to get into college and begin my career. I'm very grateful to have this opportunity to represent the school that has changed my life in such a positive and exciting way!" Sophia said.
Voting will conclude on Friday, August 21, 2020. You can vote for Sophia's design at https://doodles.google.com/d4g/!