Georgia teen wins Doodle for Google contest with message of thanks for mom

Arantza Peña Popo's Doodle, "Once you get it, give it back," is a selfless expression of appreciation for all that her mother did for her.

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Arantza Peña Popo won the 2019 Doodle for Google competition with this representation of a daughter returning a big favor and growing up to care for her mother.

Arantza Peña Popo/Google

A Georgia teen has won this year's Doodle for Google contest for her altruistic message. In response to the theme, "When I grow up, I hope… ," Arantza Peña Popo's crafted a selfless Doodle titled "Once you get it, give it back." 

Popo, of Lithonia, Georgia, returned her mother's devotion with a soulful Doodle that shows her and her mother in front of a portrait of the pair at much younger ages.  In her words, the Doodle depicts "a framed picture of my mother carrying me as a baby (a real picture in my house) and below the picture is me, caring for her when she's older in the future."

Her selection as the contest's winner was announced Monday evening by Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.


Arantza Peña Popo, winner of the 2019 Doodle for Google contest.


For almost as long as Google has been around, it's livened up its barebones search page with artwork that draws attention to notable people, events, holidays and anniversaries. Google Doodles have celebrated, among many other things, Pac-Man's anniversary, Copernicus' birthday, Mother's Day and the World Cup, as well as reminding us of lesser-known real-world heroes.

The National Doodle for Google contest started in 2008, and this year's finalists included images of magic kites, space travel, comic books and farming, in addition to Popo's message of family.

Popo says she's been interested in art since she was 3 but was suffering from a "massive art block" during her senior year of high school. She was inspired to honor her mother as the clock was ticking away on submitting her art.

"I came up with the idea at the last minute, actually the day of the deadline," she said. "I looked at the photograph of my mother (the real version that inspired the drawing) and thought, 'Hey, why don't I reverse it?' I wanted to focus more on a message of helping out my awesome mother more than anything else."

Popo's Doodle will be displayed on Google.com for one day, and she'll get a $30,000 college scholarship and a trip to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. Popo, who was valedictorian of Arabia Mountain High School in DeKalb County, Georgia, says her interests lie in literature and learning more about herself.