TIME Magazine recently named Colorado's Gitanjali Rao their very first "Kid of the Year." What did it take for this 15-year-old scientist to receive the recognition?

Swing by your grocery store newsstand and you'll see the image of Denver's Gitanjali Rao on the cover of TIME. The magazine has published their annual "Person of the Year" edition since 1928. For the first time in its history, TIME is now publishing an annual "Kid of the Year."

What process did TIME and Nickelodeon use to arrive at their finalist for 2020? It all started with nominations. TIME put out a request for nominees between the ages of eight and 16. A post dated May 20, 2020 reads:

Do you know a kid 8-16 who’s making a positive impact on their school or community? Have they recently completed a huge feat and were the first or youngest to do it? Have they made a big impact on a cause they really care about? If your kid is doing extraordinary things that are truly influencing others, we want to hear your story!

According to the Official Rules, nominators can be any age, but all Nominees had to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be between eight and sixteen years of age as of August 1, 2020

To begin the process, nominators offered a short description of no more than five hundred words explaining why the Nominee deserves to be Kid of the Year. The window for nominations ran from May 18 to August 1, 2020. The Judging Phase ran May 18 to September 15, 2020.

Once the nominations were collected, a total of 50 Nominees were selected for further consideration. From there, 20 Nominees advanced to the Quarter-Finals. Then, five finalists were chosen to receive the award.

So, what happens next? Each of the five finalists received the following:

  • A check for $5,000
  • The designation of “kid reporter” for one year with the ability to make editorial contributions to TIME for Kids magazine, TIME Edge magazine, TIME magazine, and/or their respective online, digital and social media platforms throughout 2020
  • A "TIME for Kids" reporter T-shirt
  • Press credentials
  • Reporter’s notebook
  • Letter of congratulations
  • A trip for each Finalist and their parent or legal guardian to the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and Slime Fest

From the five Finalists, Colorado's Gitanjali Rao was selected to be honored as TIME's "Kid of the Year."

To see the awards special, tune in tonight, Friday, December 4, at 7:30/6:30c on Nickelodeon. If you can't catch that airing, it will also run on Comedy Central on Friday, December 11 at 7 p.m. and on the CBS Television Network on Monday, December 21, at 9 p.m.

This is how it unfolded in 2020. Congratulations to Denver's Gitanjali Rao. Keep in mind, there's always 2021. Do you know of a student who is out there giving it their very best? I somehow suspect you do. Nominate them for next year's awards. Let's see if we can bring home this special honor for a second year in a row.

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