Boy becomes Compostela Valley celebrity after Google win
NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley—Local and school officials here are celebrating the victory of a 15-year-old boy from this town in a nationwide art contest sponsored by the Philippine office of Internet giant Google.
Kim Patrick Saren won the grand prize of this year’s “Doodle for Google” contest on Nov. 7, besting some 51,000 other young artists in four age categories nationwide.
The ninth-grader has become an inspiration for more than 2,500 students of Nabunturan National Comprehensive High School (NNCHS), principal Editha Jao said.
“His achievement is also an inspiration for us teachers,” Jao told the Inquirer on Wednesday.
Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo Uy said Saren would receive financial assistance from the provincial government.
On Thursday, the most popular boy in Compostela Valley was feted with a motorcade around the province’s capital town.
Saren’s doodle featured the mythical Maranao bird sarimanok and the ubiquitous jeepney.
The drawing revolves around the theme “What can I do for the Philippines?”
Saren came up with his doodle after over a dozen tries and several days of brainstorming with his coach, Christopher Vista.
“He works best using watercolor,” said Vista, head of NNCHS’ 10-year-old special program in the arts.
“We wanted to send an entry that would have a fighting chance so I prodded him to make more drawings until we finally came up with the [winning entry]. We tried some kind of a trial and error,” Vista said.
The boy’s entry was drawn on a small piece of Oslo paper.
The 15-year-old said he simply followed his coach’s instructions on enhancing his drawings, doing this over and over.
He said he never lost patience and instead turned it into a game.
“I did not expect we would win. The chance to be invited to participate in the contest was enough for me,” he said.
His mother, Estrellita, said Saren had been drawing even before he entered school.
“I would see him draw shapes like circles as well as lines whenever he gets hold of a pencil and paper,” Estrellita said.
“When he was in elementary [school], I would scold him as his notebooks were dirty with drawings, telling him his drawings wouldn’t help him have good grades,” she said.
Saren remembers entering a Nutrition Month drawing contest and submitting a drawing of a watermelon surrounded by other fruits and vegetables.
“I won chocolates and drawing kits,” he said.
For winning the grand prize, he received a P400,000 educational grant from BPI Foundation, an Acer laptop computer, an art kit from a bookstore, a trophy and other prizes.
His doodle was displayed on Google Philippines’ homepage for 24 hours on Nov. 10. Frinston L. Lim, Inquirer Mindanao
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