Tillsonburg's Hannah Hopkins made it all the way to the finals of the Energizer Canada 'Join Our Journey' online contest, and last week she was awarded the second-place prize of $5,000 (RESP) toward her education.
Hopkins, recently turned 12, was one of five finalists, ages 5-12, along with Sarah from Guelph (Racing Bug), Florence from Rosemere, Quebec (Fox), Colby from Barrie (Alien Truck), and Oona from Sydney, Nova Scotia (Dragon).
Each of the finalists submitted a video pitching their concept toy, which was judged based on originality, innovation, appropriateness to the theme, and clear expression. It opened up to online voting from May 27 to June 26. The $10,000 grand prize winner – Sarah from Guelph – and the runner-up were decided by online voting (50 per cent), clear expression of the idea (25 per cent) and enthusiasm (25 per cent).
There was extra incentive to vote – Energizer donated $2 for every vote up to a total of $5,000 to Actua, who create programs for children to experience STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camps.
Based on Facebook 'likes' it was clear Sarah from Guelph had superior numbers – more than all the other four finalists combined.
"She (Sarah) had a huge following," said Hannah's mother Nicole Hopkins.
Hannah, who was vying for second with Oona from Nova Scotia, had nearly 1,500 likes and more than 100 comments on the Join Our Journey contest Facebook page, said she wanted to thank everyone who voted and commented.
"They said she had over 1,500 votes," said Nicole.
And that made Hannah feel really good – and grateful for the support.
"Because I know a lot of people voted for me," Hannah nodded. "It feels really good – I know that my friends and my family and even people I don't know supported me, and helped me actually win the $5,000 for education."
As the runner-up, Hopkins' toy concept, the Vendo-bot, will not be made into a toy by 3D Phacktory. But she still has the original artwork, which will be a souvenir of the contest.
Staying with STEM theme, Hopkins will be pursuing her interest in science and technology this summer when she attends an Engineering Science Quest camp at the University of Waterloo, July 20-24, participating in the 'Edison' age group.
She also spent her birthday money on a microscope.
"So she's been looking at slides, learning different stuff," said Nicole. "And we learned lots about 3D printing, so who knows, maybe she'll get to do it some day.
"And we have other cool ideas too, right?" Nicole smiled. "Like our donuts... Tim Hortons has a contest where you can decide your own donut."
"Oh yeah," Hannah laughed.
The grand prize for Dueling Donuts is $10,000. Cash. Of course, knowing Hannah, a good portion of that would probably go into RESPs.