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Meet Autumn Yoder, the Ketchikan High senior representing Alaska in the Doodle for Google contest

Autumn Yoder is representing the state of Alaska is the Google Doodle contest.
Autumn Yoder is representing the state of Alaska is the Doodle for Google contest.(Jeremy Yoder)
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 9:37 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Ketchikan High School senior Autumn Yoder loves to draw and drink coffee. And it so happens that both drawing and her love for coffee have got her under the national spotlight in the Doodle for Google contest.

“I said ‘I’m going to take this chance,’” 17-year-old Yoder said. “‘I’m going to do it because I never got the courage to do it before’ so I took that chance.”

Winners have been chosen from each U.S. state and territory for the contest. Now, people are encouraged to vote on their favorite doodles. The top five vote earners will become finalists, and one among them will become the national winner.

Yoder said she first heard about the contest at school and thought, why not try and enter. She then started to doodle.

“It’s hard to say what generally inspires me,” Yoder said. “So basically this drawing, even though it’s titled ‘coffee and imagination’ to represent strength, really my inspiration is Alaska.”

When looking closely at the doodle, one can see a mind and inspiration from Yoder’s everyday life and imagination. From a whale to a horse to black bears chasing her.

“I see them everywhere, they are so scary,” she said.

Autumn Yoder is representing the state of Alaska is the Google Doodle contest.
Autumn Yoder is representing the state of Alaska is the Google Doodle contest.(Jeremy Yoder)

Autumn’s dad Jeremy Yoder said after they sent her drawing in and heard back that she won and will be representing the state, they had to keep the news a secret.

“When we first found out we were very, very excited and we weren’t supposed to spill the beans to her which was was really, really tough,” Jeremy Yoder said. “We’re very proud of her. She’s always drawing and she’s always not settling for what’s she’s attempted before. So it’s nice to see all this hard work pay off, so we are very proud.”

As for Autumn, she said she had just got home from a run when she heard she won. She said she was full of energy all over again and felt like she could run again. Her excitement and support are being matched not just from her family, but the City of Ketchikan as well.

“Ketchikan has been great,” her dad said. “We shared it on Facebook and Instagram and elsewhere and just hundreds of people have shared it and voted.”

Jeremy Yoder went on to say how friends and family even out of the state are showing their support.

“It’s pretty neat to see how excited people are about it,” he said.

Aside from the recognition, Google sent Autumn some gifts for making it this far. She got a drawing tablet to continue her artwork or whatever she’d like to use it for. She also got some personalized gifts like a signed book from one of the judges.

“She’s in the running right now,” Jeremy Yoder said. “If she wins nationals, if the state of Alaska wins, Ketchikan High School will get a $50,000 grant for technology from Google as well as Autumn here would get a $30,000 college scholarship.”

Autumn plans to go into the medical field after high school but says she will always be an artist.

“I’m always going to be drawing pretty much an addiction at this point,” she said.

Voting ends Friday night for the Doodle for Google contest. Those who want to vote for Autumn and the state of Alaska can do so until 10:59 p.m. Friday.

The national winner will have their artwork featured on Google.com.

Google has been holding the contest since 2008. The contest is open to students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

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