The Google Doodle seen by millions on Google's home page on May 23rd was created by Sabrina Brady, a 12th-grade student from Sparta, Wis. Sabrina’s interpretation of the letters in Google was inspired by the day she was reunited with her father after he returned home from an 18-month tour in Iraq.
This year, Google hosted its sixth annual Doodle 4 Google competition. They received more than 130,000 submissions and after millions of votes, Sabrina's submission, "Coming Home," was named the 2013 Doodle 4 Google National Winner. She, along with four finalists from different age groups, will receive college scholarships; Sabrina will use hers when she attends the Minneapolis College of Art and Design this fall.
Sabrina's doodle depicts the experience shared by more than one million military-connected students who have a parent or parents serving in active duty and the National Guard and Reserves, both here in the U.S. and abroad. The Office of Innovation and Improvement is the home to the Department of Education’s Military Liaison Office. Staff members on the military liaison team support the collaboration between the Department and other governmental agencies as they address the educational challenges faced by military-connected children. Additionally, they coordinate and collaborate with nongovernmental agencies and nonprofit organizations also working with military-connected children and their families. On average, a military-connected student will move six to nine times between first and 12th grades. And, the average military-connected student will experience multiple deployments of at least one parent during their school years.
Earlier this year, the Department's Student Art Exhibit Program featured the visual art and creative writing of military-connected students as it hosted "America’s Children," which included 50 creative works curated by the Military Child Education Coalition.
At the opening of the exhibit this past April, Eric Waldo, deputy chief of staff for policy and programs, observed that "military-connected kids are some of the most impressive, resilient, and incredible kids" he encounters in his travels for the Department. Clearly, creative can be added to that list.