WASHINGTON - Akilah Johnson is doing more than impressing people with her artwork. She is making Washington D.C. proud and putting Eastern High School on the map with her creation for the Doodle 4 Google competition.
The sophomore is one of 52 finalists and is the only one representing D.C. in the national competition.
Once you see her artwork – Google In My Afrocentric Life – there is no doubt she is a winner.
“I thought it would be cool if I made the word Google spelled out with a box braid,” Johnson said. “I put the symbol of life because a lot of people will know the ankh and stuff like that. It kind of reminds me of a ‘T’ so I kind of made it say ‘Phenomenal.’”
The bold mixed crayon, colored pencil and marker design highlights present day while weaving in the history of many who contributed to the civil rights movement.
“Looking at this painting and looking at this head itself does something to me,” said Tikecia Johnson, Akilah's mother. “This is worth millions to me.”
She is Akilah's biggest fan.
“I have a lot of pride for Akilah,” she said. “I'm very excited because it shows me that she paid attention to her history. Actually, she knows more than I do.”
She said her daughter worked tirelessly on her project over Thanksgiving break after an assignment was given from her art teacher.
“When I saw her work, I thought it would be perfect for the Google Doodle contest,” said Zalika Perkins, Akilah's art teacher. “I was just amazed at what came of it.”
Akilah has been painting since she was 7 years old. She said it is just a hobby and she wants to pursue a career in criminal justice. But her mother said the writing's on the wall.
“This is just the first painting that she has done, but I’m quite sure more is coming in the future,” said her mother.
And Akilah knows her artwork is something special.
“I'd be very proud of myself,” she said. “I never thought I would come this far.”
Through a mother's eyes, this moment is perfect -- whether her daughter wins or not.
“It just takes me back to when I was pregnant looking at names for her and Akilah spoke to me – it means intelligent,” said the proud mother.
The Doodle 4 Google competition ends on Monday, Feb. 22. If she wins, she will receive a $30,000 college scholarship.
To vote for Akilah’s artwork, go to www.google.com/doodle4google.