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Congratulations to Ding-ay Tadena, the first place winner in Voya’s 2017 Unsung Heroes program. She was presented with her award on October 25th, and now she can put the $27,000 grant to work in the classroom. Previously, Laurie Burns and Monica Alicea were presented the second and third place award respectively.

Tadena’s innovative teaching idea, “When Geometry Meets Fashion,” is focused on connecting “left brain and right brain” skills and applies a Project-Based Learning (PBL) strategy in her geometry classes. Students apply the math skills they have developed from Tadena’s class to the study of music, art and fashion design. The Voya grant will allow Tadena to provide materials for a diverse array of mathematical art projects, including drawing, painting, fashion and accessory design, and more. Tadena believes by understanding and applying the crossovers between arts and mathematics, students will be able to find color, glamour and beauty in what is sometimes considered a mundane subject. With her award grant, Tadena plans to purchase items for the program, including dress forms, expandable body forms, mannequins, sewing machines, assorted textiles, 3-D printers and art materials. These items will help ensure the continued success of the program for years to come and will allow other teachers to utilize the resources so they can also discover the joy of arts integration into other subjects.

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.