ING Unsung Heroes® Previous Award Winners

Congratulations to all of our ING Unsung Heroes winners. Each year, 100 finalists receives $2,000 while three of them are selected as Top Winners to receive additional grants of $25,000, $10,000, and $5,000. You can find winners for your state or for a specific year using the controls below.

New Jersey

  • North Warren Regional High School
    Blairstown, New Jersey

    Steingall’s winning program, “Patriot Pups Biscuits,” is an integrated community service project for students with special needs at North Warren Regional High School. The project focuses on providing students with functional job skills training through service learning with the main goal of forging a relationship between the school district and the community.

  • Tulsa Trail Elementary School
    Hopatcong, New Jersey

    Kovach and Pietrzak’s winning program, “Café Kids,” is designed to combine life skills and communication instruction with an underlying academic focus for students with special needs. Second and third-grade students at Tulsa Trail Elementary School will learn various life skills such as cooking a meal for themselves and others as well as following recipe directions using specific measurements. They will create menus, flyers and commercials to advertise the Café and a recipe book with their favorite dishes.

New Mexico

  • Stacy Austin
    Southern Heights Elementary School
    Hobbs, New Mexico

    Austin’s innovative program, “City Within a City,” is a mock society and cross-curricular project for students at Southern Heights Elementary School. The focus of the program is to provide students with a hands-on learning experience about the way a city runs. The school-wide project will involve parents, community leaders, teachers and students. Students in the fourth and fifth grades will serve as the law makers, city workers, politicians, bankers and business and property owners.


  • Christine Koch
    Dayton Intermediate School
    Dayton, Nevada

    In Koch’s winning program, “Using STEM to Build a Bridge”, students will work in groups to build a bridge in order to solve a problem such as transporting food over a ravine. They must design and construct a bridge that is less than 12 inches, using the least amount of materials possible which can support as much weight as possible. Students will conduct computer research to explore bridge design, construction materials and limitations, while acquiring basic drafting skills using Power Draft software.

New York

  • Dillon Paul
    Flushing International High School
    Flushing, New York

    Paul’s winning project, “The Presidential Election: 2012 Campaign Video Project,” aims to educate students about U.S. politics and geography and explain how media plays an important role in an election. Paul encourages her students to become critical viewers and creators of media and to use their tools of knowledge to become thoughtful, engaged, involved citizens. In the “Campaign Video Project,” democracy, citizenship and the role of media are examined through the lens of the 2012 presidential election. Students will work in small groups to explore the U.S.

  • Julene Waffle
    Morris Central School
    Morris, New York

    Waffle’s winning program, “Heart of Music, Heart of Students,” is designed to integrate music and sound into the classroom during English class. As it relates to her poetry unit, they will use the new Apple iPad and iPod to read and analyze poetry and song lyrics that use literary elements and techniques, all while practicing their critical and analytical writing skills. In addition to researching and learning about other authors’ work, the students will write their own poems using the literary elements and techniques taught.

  • John Knapp
    Northside Blodgett Middle School
    Corning, New York

    Knapp’s winning program, “Motion Devotion,” is the reinvention of the physical education classroom for students at Northside Blodgett Middle School. The program will involve students in sixth through eighth-grade, in an expanded curriculum to show them the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ of physical activity through integrating individual self-assessments and technology. Students in the program are currently participating in a sports-based class two to three times a week for 40 minutes.


  • Jennifer Haas
    Fairwood Alternative Elementary
    Columbus, Ohio

    “Cooking Group with Miss Hass” is Haas’ winning program in which special education students at Fairwood and Lincoln Park Elementary participate in a weekly cooking group focusing on vocabulary, grammar, following oral and written directions and critical thinking. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, Haas’ role is to provide language treatments for students with expressive, receptive and pragmatic language delays. Language is embedded in every facet of the educational curriculum, from math to social studies.

  • Craig Klotzbach
    LaBrae High School
    Leavittsburg, Ohio

    Klotzbach’s winning program, “Taiga: An Interactive Environment,” is an artificial biome project developed by junior and senior-year students at LaBrae High School. Abhay Patel, Taylor Koby, Dan Misinay, and Karley Sullivan are the students who worked with Klotzbach to expand learning outside of the classroom and give students an opportunity to use their five senses to interactively study what is around them.

  • John Adams High School
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Gates’ winning project, “Make Your Case: Podcasting Local History,” uses case studies to engage students in primary and secondary source analysis and to examine history within its local context, using history themes and recurring patterns such as industrialization and immigration. Students will research a local history topic and create a finished digital presentation of the topic. They will collect, organize, evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources, drawing conclusions and communicating this information using relevant social studies terminology.


  • Amber Lobaugh
    Fort Gibson High School
    Fort Gibson, Oklahoma

    Lobaugh’s winning program, “Art History,” expands the current visual arts program into an art history course for students at Fort Gibson High School. The program will be devoted to the academic study of Western art history with the hopes of eventually developing the course into an advanced placement art history course. This would provide students with the opportunity to acquire a fine arts credit and prepare for general education studies in the area of liberal arts.


  • Cathy Monroy
    Petersen Elementary
    Scappoose, Oregon

    Monroy’s winning project, “See the World Through My Eyes,” is a photography project for Title 1 reading students. Students will learn how to use photography to improve their literacy skills. Through the mastery of basic digital camera operations, students will create self-generated text, as well as other reading and writing materials to tell an important story about themselves, their families and their community. Students have the opportunity to learn how to properly use a camera, including how to zoom, use a flash and download pictures.

  • Keelin Brubaker
    Reynolds Middle School
    Fairview, Oregon

    Brubaker’s winning program, “Wheel of Explorations,” was started to restore motivation and engagement to the most disenfranchised students in the school. The school has a diverse and impoverished student population. Many do not know how to set goals for their future, and in many cases, their parents are uneducated and unable to help them. Additionally, many students are no longer deemed eligible for electives because of their low test scores. They have few creative, physical or interactive outlets during the school day.


  • Matthew Crouch
    Murray Avenue School
    Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania

    Crouch’s innovative, winning program, “Fitness Goes Hollywood,” aims to engage students in a non-traditional, physical education, kinesthetic learning adventure. The goal of the program is to bolster the Murray Avenue School Health and Physical Education program by incorporating digital video technology and editing software. Students will use digital video cameras during their physical education classes throughout the week to capture highlight footage on good form and technique.

  • Candi Young
    Mohawk Elementary
    Bessemer, Pennsylvania

    Young’s winning program, “Grow Some, Give Some,” aims to address economic needs in the community and give students hands-on experience, mathematical calculation practice and social acceptance of meeting the needs of others. Students will use a greenhouse to grow plants, raise butterflies and create biomes for a variety of small creatures. Each grade level will focus on a different part of the animal life development cycle and plant growth process. In the greenhouse, students can use all their senses to experience and learn about life cycles.

  • Amy Broman
    Seneca Valley Middle School
    Harmony, Pennsylvania

    Broman’s winning project, “Community of Writers,” prepares students to thrive in a competitive world that is rapidly integrating digital media. The goal of the project is to create a technology based writing class that will cultivate a “Community of Writers”. Students will be immersed in a virtual and digital writing community that emphasizes 21st century learning skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, adaptability, initiative, accountability and leadership.

  • Colin Syme
    Upper St. Clair High School
    Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania

    Syme’s winning program, “Zebra Fish: A Tool For Project-Based Learning,” engages students using Zebra Fish as cross-curricular tools for inquiry. Students will explore several lines of study including housing and breeding, basic cell development, embryology, genetics, physiology and molecular biology. Zebra Fish are vertebrates and possess genetic similarity to humans. With this program, students will study embryological and cellular development in response to different environmental and chemical factors.

Rhode Island

South Carolina

  • Bradley Bryant
    Laurens District 55 High School
    Laurens, South Carolina

    Bryant’s winning program, “Integrating Digital Art and Design,” was created to integrate technology into an interdisciplinary project to mainly engage graphic design students, but also English, social studies, economic and U.S. history and government students. One of the students will become a mock political candidate, allowing the students to research everything from political logos, slogans, speeches and posters.

  • Fort Mill High School
    Fort Mill, South Carolina

    Bynum’s winning project, “Set it to Music,” takes an innovative “for-students-by-students” approach to learning, using music and poetry. Studies show that many students are able to better retain information that is embedded in music. Bynum’s project will assist students in learning content material in math, science, history and other subjects. Students will collaborate to create original, lyrical poems that will feature educational content covering various topics and subjects. Students will use mnemonic devices to learn and retain information needed to excel in class.

  • Antonio Dinkins
    Mary Lee Dinkins Higher Learning Academy
    Bishopville, South Carolina

    "Students of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow Academic Enrichment Program” is Dinkins’ winning afterschool academic enrichment program for disadvantaged and ‘at-risk’ students. Lee County is one of the poorest counties in South Carolina, with the highest teen pregnancy rates, dropout and unemployment rates. It was recently rated as the ‘unhealthiest county’ in the state.

  • Andrea Price
    Indian Land High School
    Indian Land, South Carolina

    “Night of Storytelling,” Price’s winning program, was started to focus on artistic expression of family – blending the Indian Land family as well as the biological family. What is unique about this program is that it will not only include the students in art class and their experience, but it will revolve around a blend of age groups. Students will collaborate with the Sun City community, a neighborhood of retired individuals. This collaboration will allow the insights and finished products to include a unique range and depth of perspective as well as experience.

South Dakota

  • Tressa Wede
    L.B. Williams Elementary
    Mitchell, South Dakota

    Wede’s winning program, “Project iPAD: Impacting Performance, Achievement and Development,” is a cross-curricular program that integrates technology with core subject learning. Students will utilize the independent capabilities of the Apple iPad and its educational applications, interactive teaching tools and multimedia content to provide engaging, differentiated, small group activities. The iPads will be used as literacy centers, providing fluency practice for intensive and strategic readers.


  • Lori Wilson
    Heritage Middle School
    Maryville, Tennessee

    Wilson’s winning project, “Learning Through Exploration,” features a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) center classroom where students can explore space and travel, video processing, force and motion, and electricity. The goal of the project is to allow students to apply the knowledge of their core classes in real-life scenarios. In the space and travel center, students will conduct research on the history of space and will create an informational pamphlet on a planet of choice. They will also build a rocket to launch.

  • Jessica Myers
    Ripley Primary School
    Ripley, Tennessee



  • Ryan Patton
    Steven Austin Middle School
    Irving, Texas

    Patton’s winning program, “Integrated Modern Industrial Research and Development,” also known as iMIRD, is a project-based learning class that teaches students how to create software solutions through object-oriented computer programming with Scratch software. Advances in the program allow students to create more in-depth software solutions and develop complex games and simulation programs that have a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) focus.

  • Renee Newry
    Farine Elementary
    Irving, Texas

    Newry’s winning program, “Society of Awesome Readers: (Summer Book Club),” was initiated to create common ground among the students at Farine Elementary. Language and literacy are foundational skills that all students must have to be successful in school. Researchers agree that students in poverty often lose language and literacy during the summer months.

  • Ines Miranda
    Benavidez Elementary School
    Houston, Texas

    Miranda’s innovative program, “Science Explorer Park,” aims to provide an interesting learning opportunity for students in an authentic environment which promotes observation, investigation and hands-on learning in an organic way. The “Science Explorer Park” will contain five Explorer Stations. In the first station students will investigate solar power, including how heat energy is captured via solar panels and used by people to regulate temperature in their homes and prepare food. Students will also discover how solar power helps support plant and animal life.

  • Mark Rogers
    Meridian World School
    Round Rock, Texas

    Rogers’ winning program, “Students Teaching Students,” modifies the idea of online video tutorials by letting students, not teachers, be the principal instructors. Through this project, students will achieve mastery of the featured subject matter and concepts, gain knowledge of a popular new medium for developing educational skills for students around the world, and developing healthy online social media habits. Students who participate in the project will research, practice and deliver a short lesson while they are filmed by a classmate.


  • Laura Vanderslice
    Dixie Middle School
    St. George, Utah

    "Lights, Camera, Action…” is Vanderslice’s winning project-based learning program designed to incorporate technology and creativity to increase comprehension of classic works of literature. Utilizing Romeo and Juliet as the literary backdrop, Vanderslice’s program will aim to help students build deep content understanding by incorporating a fun, class-identified theme from a selected genre into which they will translate the traditional storyline.