AR Teacher Receives Natl. Unsung Hero Award and $2,000 for Innovative Teaching Program

HARRISON, Ark. (News release) - Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), a leading provider of workplace retirement solutions, including savings plans for K-12 educators, announced Wednesday that Mary Beth Hatch, a teacher at Harrison Middle School received a $2,000 grant as part of the company’s 2017 Voya Unsung Heroes awards competition.
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. For more than 20 years, the program has awarded over $5 million in grants to more than 2,000 educators across the United States. 
“At Voya, we are proud to recognize the many teachers who go above and beyond to inspire a love of learning in their classrooms,” said Heather Lavallee, president of Tax-Exempt Markets at Voya Financial. “Understanding that we all learn differently, these teachers have developed unique programs to engage the minds of each and every student. This aligns with our desire to help all Americans prepare for their unique financial futures. We are honored to empower Mary Beth Hatch to continue to impact the lives of young people who will one day be the future leaders of our communities.”
Hatch’s innovative teaching idea, “Natural State, Natural Art,” focuses on engaging the students at Harrison Middle School through art and Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) concepts by allowing the students to publicly display their products to enhance the diversity, tourism, and economy within the town of Harrison, AR. Students involved in the program will learn to lead and collaborate with other students as well as local artists within the communities through the creation of mural artwork. As the students collaborate with other students and artists within the community, they will be presented with opportunities to take leadership roles within each mural concept. The teams will work together to make each mural a natural work of art, leveraging photo, video and design software to portray their concepts. Additionally, the collaboration with other students and the local artists will present public speaking opportunities for those students who do not normally partake in this type of learning experience. 
Selected from a group of more than 1,200 applicants, Hatch is one of only 100 winners across the country who will receive this award to help fund and bring her program to life. In addition she will now compete with other finalists for one of the top three prizes — an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 from Voya Financial. 
To learn more about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the Voya Unsung Heroes website ( Applications for the 2018 Voya Unsung Heroes awards are currently being accepted through the website until April 30, 2018.

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