Voya Financial Honors Hawthorne, California, Teacher with First Place Voya Unsung Heroes Program Award

WINDSOR, Conn., Oct. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), a leading provider of retirement plans for educators, announced today that Ding-ay Tadena, a mathematics teacher at Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, California, has received the first place prize in the company's national 2017 Voya Unsung Heroes awards competition.   

Dr. Gregory O’Brien, superintendent of schools, Centinela Valley Union High School District, Dr. Vanessa Landesfeind, principal at Hawthorne High School, and Ding-ay Tadena, Voya's 2017 Unsung Heroes program first place winner, stand with Heather Lavallee, president, Tax-Exempt Markets for Voya Financial with the $27,000 grant award.

Through the Voya Unsung Heroes program, Voya Financial awards grants to K-12 educators nationwide to honor their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence their students. Over its 20 years, the program has awarded more than $5 million in grants to more than 2,000 educators across the U.S.

As the first place winner, selected from more than 1,200 applications, Tadena will receive $25,000 in addition to an initial $2,000 grant. This will bring her total financial award from Voya to $27,000. The money will be used to help fund "When Geometry Meets Fashion," an innovative program for students at Hawthorne High School. 

"We are honored to recognize Ding-ay Tadena as the first place winner in the 2017 Voya Unsung Heroes program," said Heather Lavallee, president of Tax-Exempt Markets at Voya Financial. "For more than 20 years, Voya has recognized our nation's teachers who go above and beyond as they educate the children in their communities. In the same way that we help our clients prepare for and protect their financial futures, teachers set their students on the right path for a promising future. We are thrilled to be able to empower educators like Ding-ay to bring their innovative ideas to life."

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.

"The 'When Geometry Meets Fashion' program provides an exciting opportunity for our students to learn using both sides of their brains by merging mathematics and art," said Dr. Vanessa Landesfeind, principal of Hawthorne High School. "We often isolate subjects in school; however, by overlapping disciplines, you find there are many synergies that can be used to benefit our students' educational experiences. We are proud of the wonderful work Ding-ay is doing with her math students and hope this type of unique and innovative program will encourage others to use crossovers between subjects to help our youth excel."

With the Voya 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.

To learn more about this year's winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the Voya Unsung Heroes website (unsungheroes.com). Applications for the 2018 Voya Unsung Heroes awards are currently being accepted through the website until April 30, 2018.      

Media Contact:
Stefanie Urso
Voya Financial
Office: (212) 309-5974
Cell: (973) 632-8954
[email protected]

About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 13.6 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $11 billion in revenue in 2016. The company had $517 billion in total assets under management and administration as of June 30, 2017. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya's vision is to be America's Retirement Company®. Certified as a "Great Place to Work" by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible and has been recognized as one of the 2017 World's Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute, as well as one of the Top Green Companies in the U.S., by Newsweek magazine. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook and Twitter @Voya.


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SOURCE Voya Financial, Inc.