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Congratulations to Shea Havens-White, Angela Yake, Grant Rogers and Jason Siwek, a group of teachers at Cedarville High School in Cedarville, Ohio, who have been selected as the 2016 Second Place Winners. They were presented with their award on October 13th, and now they can put the $12,000 grant to work in the classroom. Previously DeWayne Mason, Ph.D. was presented with the Third Place award. First place announcement is coming soon, so stayed tuned! 

The team’s innovative teaching idea, “No Holds Barred,” is focused on helping students in business, science and technology classes take their learning beyond textbooks and use their knowledge to create an actual enterprise. The students will engage in a project-based learning experience where they will have the opportunity to build, design, market and sell products of their own creation. Students from four different classes with four different teachers will work together collaboratively throughout the process. Students will begin by learning the basics of entrepreneurship and business management as they form their own small business. Students in engineering classes will then use their skills in mathematics, technology and science to create the unique products by using specialized software and equipment like 3D printers and 3D cutters. The product will then be packaged and sold by business classes on the school’s e-commerce site. The project will help students see the real-life connection of what they learn in the classroom, while also encouraging them to think like scientists, artists and entrepreneurs.

This year marks the program’s 20th anniversary and the competition was stiff. More than 1,350 applications were submitted from across the country. Learn more about the 2016 winning class.

For two decades, and with nearly $5 million in awarded grants, Voya Unsung Heroes has proven to be an A+ program with educators. The program’s “alumni” have inspired success in the classroom and impacted countless numbers of students. 

In looking back at the winning projects from the program’s 20-year history, Voya Financial was able to track some popular trends and compelling concepts that have shaped our country’s education system. Click on the image below to learn more about what types of programs made the grade.













Voya Unsung Heroes handed out its first awards in 1996 as a way for Voya Financial to demonstrate its commitment to the education community. Grants are given to K-12 educators utilizing new teaching methods and techniques that improve learning.

Each year, educators submit applications for a Voya Unsung Heroes grant by describing projects they have initiated or would like to pursue. Each project is judged on its:

  • Innovative method
  • Creativity
  • Ability to positively influence the students

Each year, 100 finalists are selected to receive a $2,000 grant, payable to both the winning teacher and his or her school. At least one grant is awarded in each of the 50 states, provided at least one qualified application was received from each state. Winners are selected by Scholarship America, a national non-profit educational support and student aid service organization.

Of the 100 finalists, three are selected for additional financial awards: $25,000 for first place; $10,000 for second place; and $5,000 for third place. The top winners are selected by the Educators Advisory Board, consisting of six distinguished educators from across the U.S.

If you or someone you know has an idea for an outstanding educational project, we encourage you to apply for the Voya Unsung Heroes program. Complete the online application today!

Contact Scholarship America via email or by phone at (800) 537-4180. Or ask your local representative for more information. The deadline for applications is April 30. Winners are announced in the fall.