Things That Matter

This Week’s Google Doodle Is About One Teen’s Appreciation For Her Colombian Mother’s Sacrifices And I’m Sobbing

Even since 2008, search engine Google has dedicated a contest to aspiring young artists around the world. With a yearly theme, the company challenges these young people with the task of creating a specialized Google Doodle. This year’s theme was announced to be “When I grow up, I hope… ;” a hopeful look at the future of our society. Each year, thousands of entries are submitted and one is selected as a winner for each age group. Of those winners, only one is declared the overall winner of the Doodle for Google contest. 

This year’s winner is Georgia teen, Arantza Peña Popo.

Twitter / @scottbudman

Entitled “Once you get it, give it back,” the doodle depicts a representation of a real picture of Peña Popo and her mother when the artist was a baby. In front of this display is the artist and her mother imagined in the future when Peña Popo will repay her mother’s devotion and care for her in her old age. 

According to a press release from Google, Peña Popo describes her mother, who is from Colombia, as a person who lights up any room she’s in. Also, the teen hopes to one day be able to help her mother to travel around the world and do all the other things in life that she hopes to do.

Peña Popo’s win was announced Monday night by Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” where she appeared as a guest. Her doodle was picked as the winner out of over 200,000 entries.
“I wanted to make it more personal to me,” the teen artist said in her interview with Fallon. “So, I decided to make it about my mother. You know, she’s made so many sacrifices for me so I kind of wanted to show me paying it back in the future”

According to Peña Popo, she has been interested in art since she was three but was suffering from a major artist block while working on this piece. 

Twitter / @GoogleDoodle

“I came up with the idea at the last minute, actually the day of the deadline,” she shared. “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.” 

This is just the start of Peña Popo’s promising art career. Last Spring, the Colombiana graduated valedictorian of Arabia Mountain High School. In the Fall, she plans to attend the University of Southern California and wants to publish alternative graphic novels and comics in the future.  

The win also comes with some amazing perks for the artistic teen. 

Twitter/ @FallonTonight

As an aspiring artist, Peña Popo will get some of the best exposure in the world. Google.com will display her winning doodle for the entire day and it will appear whenever the search engine is used. The teen artist will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship to help with her as she attends the University of Southern California. Finally, Peña Popo will go on a trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Reactions to Peña Popo’s beautiful illustration and the story behind it have been incredibly supportive.

Twitter / @leeshaheard

Most people can relate to the story of sacrifice and love told by Peña Popo’s Google Doodle. Basically, it makes us all think about our own mothers. No wonder her entry won; it tugs at all of our heartstrings. We can’t help but want to support this young artist. 

This tweet credits Peña Popo’s win to #BlackGirlMagic and we have to agree with this based on her undeniable excellence.

 Twitter /@destinyiyabo

We always love to see a woman of color succeed but we are especially proud of this Afro-Latina and her accomplishments. It just goes to show that brilliance and talent can’t be contained by bigotry, bias or colorism. We have to label this win with #AfroLatinaExcellence.

While Peña Popo was both the winner in her age group and the national champion of this year’s Doodle for Google, she wasn’t the only one to win

Google / Amadys López Velásquez

Natalia Pepe of Connecticut won the K-3 grade group with a doodle that honors the farmers of America. Amadys López Velásquez of Puerto Rico won the 4-5 grade group with a doodle that celebrates the power of imagination. Texas student Christelle Matildo won first place in the 6-7 grade group with an entry that hopes for a better tomorrow. New Jersey native Jeremy Henskens won the 8-9 grade group with a comic book-inspired doodle. 

Congrats to Peño Popo and all the other winners. We hope the real future is half as beautiful as the one they’ve doodled

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A Judge Has Ruled That The University of California System Can No Longer Use SAT And ACT Tests For Admissions And It’s A Huge Win For The Underprivileged

Things That Matter

A Judge Has Ruled That The University of California System Can No Longer Use SAT And ACT Tests For Admissions And It’s A Huge Win For The Underprivileged

Kevork Djansezian / Getty

Advocates against the use of standardized tests for college admissions have long argued that the use of such exams sets back students from underprivileged backgrounds and those who have disabilities. Aware of the leg up it gives to privileged and non-disabled students an advantage in the admittance process, they’ve rallied for schools to end such practices.

And it looks like they’ve just won their argument.

A judge has ruled that the University of California system can no longer use ACT and SAT tests as part of their admissions process.

Brad Seligman is the Alameda County Superior Court Judge who issued the preliminary injunction in the case of Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California on Tuesday. The plaintiffs in Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California include five students and six organizations College Access Plan, Little Manila Rising, Dolores Huerta Foundation, College Seekers, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Community Coalition.

In his decision, Judge Seligman underlined that the UC system’s “test-optional” policy on UC campuses has long given privileged and non-disabled students a chance at a “second look” in the admissions process. According to Seligman, this “second look” denies such opportunities to students who are unable to access the tests.

The decision is a major victory for students with disabilities and from underprivileged backgrounds.

News of the decision comes on the heels of the university system’s ruling to waive the standardized testing requirements until 2024.

In May, a news release asserted that if a new form of a standardized test had not been developed by 2025, the system would have to put an end to the testing requirement for California students. On Monday, the judge’s ruling took things further by banning the consideration of scores from students who submit them all together.

“The current COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in restrictions in the availability of test sites,” Seligman wrote in his ruling. “While test-taking opportunities for all students have been limited, for persons with disabilities, the ability to obtain accommodations or even to locate suitable test locations for the test is ‘almost nil.'”

A spokesperson for the University of California said the university “respectfully disagrees with the Court’s ruling.”

“An injunction may interfere with the University’s efforts to implement an appropriate and comprehensive admissions policies and its ability to attract and enroll students of diverse backgrounds and experiences,” the spokesperson said. According to the spokesperson, the UC system is considering further legal action in the case. The system said that its testing has allowed for an increase in admission of low-income and first-generation-to-college-students for the fall of 2020.

With UC being the largest university system in the country, Seligman’s ruling is a massive deal. Students and advocates have long fought for the elimination of these standardized tests arguing that they do not accurately reflect a student’s academic ability.

“Research has repeatedly proved that students from wealthy families score higher on the SAT and ACT, compared to students from low-income families,” reports CNN. It’s important to note that the analysis by Inside Higher Ed revealed that the “lowest average scores for each part of the SAT came from students with less than $20,000 in family income. The highest scores came from those with more than $200,000 in family income.”

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FIERCE Maestras Are Giving Newbie Teachers Career Advice And It’s Basically The Sweetest Thing

Fierce

FIERCE Maestras Are Giving Newbie Teachers Career Advice And It’s Basically The Sweetest Thing

Joe Raedle / Getty

No matter what experiences you’ve had as a student, hopefully you have had at least a handful of teachers who left good impressions on you. As a whole class of students from this year graduate and become teachers themselves, we wanted to ask veteran maestras for advice on how to continue the cycle of positivity.

In a recent post to our Instagram page we asked all our FIERCE maestras, what advice do they have for a new teacher and boy did they deliver!

Check out the replies below!

Stay nourished.

“Advice: eat during your break girl and practice self-care.” – la_misses_m

Take it easy.

“Take it one day at a time. At times you will doubt yourself but push through the all the challenges. Always remember why you are there, which is to teach your students. You got this!! Good luck!!” – erixcii

Make sure you’re feeding your relationships.

“Focus on relationships above everything. Relationships with your students and their families!”- allirousey

Don’t forget to build relationships with your students.

“Self-care and building relationships with your students and families!!” – jazzyfue

And definitely remember to trust yourself.

“I’m an SLP, but I would tell her to trust herself!! You got this! You know your kids and you talents!” – maryoso_moli

Self-care Sundays shall your temple.

“Practice Self-care and build relationships with students. Remember to always be kind to the janitors/grounds keepers/ clerical staff (they make our jobs easier). Consider keeping a scrap book or journal of sweet notes and emails that you can look through on the tough days. Always teach with your heart and with a growth mindset; never get complacent because our profession is ever changing and we will likely never have the exact same group of kiddos again. Keep learning from your coworkers (what to do and what not to do), from your students, insta teachers, workshops, and personal experience (make notes to yourself in your planner for next year). Being organized has saved me, even on the most hectic days. Always have a back up lesson available. Empathy is key! Take. Days. Off. I know lesson plans are time consuming, but your mental health is worth prioritizing.” – cmirene

Know it gets better over time.

“The first year may be hard, but it gets better and better every year.”- yulzzzz5

Don’t be a Yes Ma’am.

“Advice: learn to say no. You’ll be super compelled to go more than above and beyond because it’s all for the kids and as much as I ADORE AND LOVE my students just as I am sure you will you need some you time. I started being the only teacher at school functions and being stressed about helping my high schoolers have the best time that I was drowning. Love them but love yourself too! You deserve you time.” – del_ranita

Don’t be a shrinking violet.

“Don’t shrink yourself to make your whyte colleagues feel comfortable. Connect with other teachers of color and ask for/give support. Lead with love for your students. They should always come first.”- queenurbie

Be an authentic leader.

“My one piece of advice is to invest time in getting to know your students, their stories and be your authentic self with them. Kids love knowing that their teachers are people and are just like them.” – meerehyah@educatinglittleminds 

And finally, remember ya live and learn!

“I remember I used to always want to be “perfect” for them and would fear making mistakes or letting them see me when things wouldn’t go right. When a lesson didn’t work out as planned. I learned to let that go and to let them see me make mistakes. It is okay! And it is okay to admit it. They’ll appreciate it! Teaches them that we aren’t all perfect and we all make mistakes-it’s a part of life. Teach on and be You! They’ll love every piece of you.” – su_heeey

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