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Time magazine names first ever ‘Kid of the Year’

Time magazine

Time magazine named its first ever “Kid of the Year” on Wednesday, awarding the 2020 title to scientist and inventor 15-year-old Gitanjali Rao.

Time magazine, in partnership with Nickelodeon, decided to choose Gitanjali as its first recipient of the person of the year distinction for kids.

The kid of the year award was inspired by environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who last year was named Time’s person of the year.

Thunberg was the youngest person and the first person under 25 years old to receive the recognition in the 92 years that Time has handed out the distinction.

Gitanjali, of Lone Tree, Colo., was named kid of the year for her “exceptional leadership” in inspiring other young people to innovate, as she researches artificial intelligence and carbon nanotube sensor technology to address cyberbullying and water contamination. 

Gitanjali told actress Angelina Jolie in an interview that she tries to encourage others to zero in on a single problem society faces, instead of trying to solve every world problem. 

“I think more than anything right now, we just need to find that one thing we’re passionate about and solve it,” she said in her interview. “Even if it’s something as small as, I want to find an easy way to pick up litter. Everything makes a difference. Don’t feel pressured to come up with something big.”

Time magazine chose five finalists total, with the other four being 14-year-old Tyler Gordon from San Jose, Calif.; 14-year-old Jordan Reeves from Columbia, Mo.; 10-year-old Bellen Woodard from Leesburg, Va.; and 16-year-old Ian McKenna from Austin, Texas.

Gordon has painted more than 500 portraits of Black people who inspire him, Reeves designed toys better suited for kids with disabilities, Woodward launched a crayon line for the wide variety of skin colors and McKenna started a garden to help feed families unable to afford enough food.

All of the finalists will become a “Time for Kids” kid reporter, be able to contribute to Time and obtain a cash prize from Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon will air a Time’s “Kid of the Year” special on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Tags Bellen Woodard Gitanjali Rao Greta Thunberg Ian McKenna Jordan Reeves Kid of the Year Nickelodeon Person of the Year TIME Magazine Time Person of the Year Tyler Gordon young people

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