A St. Petersburg fourth grader’s artwork — a drawing of her in her hijab mastering the tennis and karate that helped her overcome bullying — is the Florida state winner for the 15th annual Doodle for Google art contest for kids.
Her artwork now moves on to a national competition and voting is open until Thursday, May 25, at doodles.google.com/d4g/vote. Click on the Grades 4-5 category to see the Florida winner by Iman Haddouche-Miranda, age 9 (actually age 9½, as she firmly reminds).
The precocious girl in the teal hijab said simply, “I want to be me.”
She had heard slurs and been bullied at both her school and in her northwest St. Petersburg neighborhood. But the day she was spit on, her mother decided that it was time to home-school her.
“I am grateful for my community that nourishes me,” Iman wrote in her essay to Google. “I was bullied so much in school that my mom has to homeschool me. … Our community programs have given me opportunities to discover who I can be, and at the same time I can be who I am.”
Her drawing shows Iman in her head covering, which is worn in public by some Muslim women. She is wielding a tennis racket that makes the “G” in the Google trademark. The other letters are made with a tennis ball, a blue belt from karate and fighting sticks, and the final “E” is the helmet she wears when sparring.
She was awarded a Chrome notebook and a T-shirt with her artwork on it from Google, among other prizes. And if she goes on to win the national award, she will win scholarship money and can donate a $50,000 technology package for a nonprofit organization of her choice.
She has chosen to give computers to the school and the GED program at her mosque, the Islamic Society of St. Petersburg.
Both tennis and karate, which she takes at the J.W. Cate Recreation Center and the St. Petersburg Tennis Center, “teach me how to improve myself,” she said.
“I feel like she grew into a different person,” said her mother, Ellaine Miranda. “She went from revenge mode to ‘I love my community.’”