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Art as expression: Sumter middle schooler wins state title in Doodle 4 Google art contest

Haniyah Robinson is an 8th grader at Hillcrest Middle School. She's the South Carolina finalist in the Doodle 4 Google art contest.

SUMTER, S.C. — A South Carolina middle schooler is now a finalist in the Doodle 4 Google contest. 

There are 55 winners chosen, and the only winner from the state is from right here in the Midlands.

"I see the little drawings that they have on there," Hillcrest Middle School 8th grader Haniyah Robinson shares about the Google homepage. "I think it'd be interesting if I could put one up there."

It’s why Robinson decided to enter the Doodle 4 Google art contest. 

On Monday, her class found out that she is one out of 55 finalists — the only middle school student in the state.

"I'm extremely impressed," Robinson's art teacher, Morgan Willis explains. "I'm just really proud of her."

Willis says creativity comes naturally for the middle schooler.

"She finishes like every single project early. She sometimes does the project twice," Willis explains. "Even if she's finished with the project, she's using the materials for a personal artwork. And everything is very high quality, super detailed."

"She's very, very talented," Vice Principal Laura Cantey adds. "So to have her here at our school and be the South Carolina winner is just a blessing for us here at Hillcrest and we're very, very excited to to know that we have someone with that kind of talent right here within our buildings."

For Robinson, art is a form of expression.

"It’s very difficult to communicate with the other kids," Robinson tells me. "So the only way I feel like I can, that people actually listen to is by drawing."

She says this most recent piece is a way to show off her love for animals. Her parents, Duane and Heather Robinson, are beaming with pride.

"Haniyah has always been a student of the game and she immediately just absorbed like all the material," Duane shares. "And every time I walk along, she is basically drawing so it's just been a blessing to be able to nurture her in her talent."

"It just amazes me it’s come to this: Doodle 4 Google 2023 winner for the state," Heather explains. "So we’re ecstatic."

Now, students can see her drawing on display at the front of the school. Voting will open so anyone can cast their ballot on their favorite design.

The winner of the national contest will win a $30,000 scholarship, and the associated school will get $50,000 to go toward its technology program. 

That voting will start on May 18 and will be open until the 25.

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