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.


  • Sangster Elementary School
    Springfield, Virginia

    “The Heart Muscle and the Meaning of its Ever Changing Beats” is Tuebner’s winning program designed to combat obesity. Addressing a couple of the state physical education standards, students will demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary for a health-enhancing level of personal fitness and learn strategies for living a physically active lifestyle. Her 850 students at Sangster Elementary will learn the importance of exercising and how the heart is affected while being active inside and outside of physical education class.

  • Candice Cheshire
    Green Run High School
    Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Cheshire’s winning program, “READERZ,” consists of a small group of Green Run High School students visiting a local elementary school where they read to students in various grade levels. The books the READERZ present to students are chosen based on collaboration with the elementary school library media specialist and teachers. The books are typically selected to coincide with a unit the elementary school students are currently studying. After each reading, the READERZ engage the elementary students in a learning activity that relates to the story.


  • Danielle Levine
    Aurora School
    Middlebury, Vermont

    Levine’s project, “Year of You (Empowering the Individual Through Community)” focuses on how individual elements within a system work together to make a whole. The students start with a “macro-me” section, using their surroundings to examine roles within community systems; towns, families, teams, churches and especially the school itself. The school operates on the principle of “we are all one team,” and the school rules all begin with the word “help”.


  • Alfonso Gonzalez
    Chimacum Middle School
    Chimacum, Washington

    “Teaching Kids to be Stewards of Chimacum Creek,” Gonzalez’s winning program, was designed to help students become stewards of the Chimacum waters. The sixth-grade students will work hand-in-hand with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition (NOSC) to learn about Chimacum Creek and how to keep it healthy and how to keep the fish thriving. Students will also learn about water pollution and water quality. The sixth graders will visit different creek sites to plant native trees and vegetation along the riparian zones.

  • Daniel Calzaretta
    Pioneer Middle School
    Walla Walla, Washington

    Calzaretta’s winning program, “iCreate: App Incubator Project,” is designed to tap into students’ interest in technology. Students in the program will learn the process of creating applications for mobile devices instead of just using them. The technology program is unique because it takes students through the entire process of creating applications including app design, testing, refining and marketing. App creation is a growing industry and one in which people of all ages can participate.


  • Sheri Kopka
    Mercer School
    Mercer, Wisconsin

    Kopka’s winning project, “Building Teams in the Trees,” is designed to get students out into nature and become physically active. Mercer is Wisconsin’s smallest public school with a kindergarten through 12th-grade population. Many of the school’s students receive free or reduced lunch and come from economically disadvantaged homes. This project affords physics students an opportunity to design and create a challenge obstacle course on campus.

  • Carolyn Parks
    Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Parks and her colleagues developed “Click ‘em/An Entrepreneurial Project,” as an economics, personal finance, entrepreneurial-based project that integrates all core subject areas including character education. Students involved in the project begin at the basic Millionaires Club level. They study all aspects of personal finance as well as introductory economics. After completion of the basic level goals, they move on to the entrepreneurial level of the project, “Click ‘Em Photography”.

West Virginia

  • Jefferson High School
    Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia

    Pennington’s winning program, “That’s My Back Story and I’m Sticking to It!,” was developed to add an additional dimension to a technological revolution occurring at Charles Town Middle School. Students are currently blogging and sharing data in cyber space with their classmates and with a global audience – on a limited basis. With the new program, students will create a greater online presence and create science-based applications they can share across the world.


  • Pat Nieters
    Cody Middle School
    Cody, Wyoming

    Nieters’ “Students’ Investment Project,” is designed to teach students money management skills during their middle and high school years. Each student will begin their sixth-grade with an initial investment of five dollars of their own money. Blended with community donations and grant funds, the sixth-grade classes’ portfolio will total approximately $10,000 in start-up funds. Students will be taught various economic concepts before the class makes its initial investment.