WINDSOR, Conn., Oct. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), a leading provider of retirement plans for educators, announced that Shea Havens-White, Angela Yake, Grant Rogers and Jason Siwek, a group of teachers at Cedarville High School in Cedarville, Ohio, have received the second place prize in the company's national 2016 Voya Unsung Heroes awards competition.
This year marks the program's 20th anniversary. Since 1996, the Voya Unsung Heroes program has awarded nearly $5 million in grants to more than 2,000 K-12 educators across the U.S. in support of their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence the children they teach. In looking back at the winning projects from the program's 20-year history, Voya has also been able to track the popular trends and compelling concepts that have shaped our country's education system. (See infographic: "Voya Highlights 20 Years of Teaching Trends").
As the second place winner, selected from more than 1,350 applications, this group of educators will receive $10,000 in addition to an initial $2,000 grant. This will bring their total financial award from Voya up to $12,000. The money will be used to help fund "No Holds Barred," the award-winning program they are implementing at Cedarville High School.
"Voya Financial is honored to salute Shea Havens-White, Angela Yake, Grant Rogers and Jason Siwek, who have the vision to pioneer new teaching methods and creative ideas in the classroom that inspire learning," said Heather Lavallee, president of Tax-Exempt Markets at Voya Financial. "Each day, we help individuals plan, invest and protect their savings to prepare for their financial future, and we are proud to recognize these men and women who prepare students for their future. Teaching is one of the most important professions in the world, and we are privileged to help this group of educators continue to make a positive, lifelong impact on the children they teach."
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.
"We are incredibly proud of Shea Havens-White, Angela Yake, Grant Rogers and Jason Siwek. 'No Holds Barred' gives our students a chance to think outside the box, while exploring their business and entrepreneurial skills," said Chad Haemmerle, principal of Cedarville High School. "We are delighted to give this exciting and valuable learning opportunity to the students. The extra grant money from Voya Financial will help take this program to a new level. Thank you Shea, Angela, Grant and Jason for being passionate about what you do."
The $12,000 grant will enable the teachers to purchase the equipment needed for their students' startup business. Specifically, the funds will be used to buy approximately a dozen iPads, a laser cutter and other required tools for a 3D printer.
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 2017 Voya Unsung Heroes awards are currently being accepted through the website until April 30, 2017.
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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 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $11 billion in revenue in 2015. The company had $466 billion in total assets under management and administration as of June 30, 2016. 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™. The company is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible — Voya has been recognized as one of the 2016 World's Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute, and 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.