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Online first: Milken Center presents Discovery Awards

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Lowell Milken Center, dedicated to "repairing the world" through project-based learning, announced that projects from Prince George County, Virginia, Carlisle, Iowa, and Denver, Colorado, earned first, second and third place, respectively, in its first annual Discovery Award competition.

The Discovery Award inspires the exploration of unsung heroes who have changed history, a news release said.

"Our hope is that the Lowell Milken Center Discovery Award will not only shed light on unsung heroes from around the nation and world, but will also inspire teachers and students to continue their legacies in their own communities," center Executive Director Norm Conard said.

The $10,000 grand prize went to educator Stephanie Bishop and her students Abria Humphries, Travis Kennedy and Bryce Kephart from Prince George County, Va., for creating a "spellbinding performance" called "Walk With Me," which honors Kendall Reinhardt's friendship with "The Little Rock Nine" of Central High School, Ark., the release said.

"'Walk With Me' is a journey into outstanding project development," Conard said. "The days of 1957-58 come alive again through the beautiful, seamless combination of research and development. Stephanie Bishop and her students have set a standard of excellence in education with this powerful performance."

Learn more on the Lowell Milken Center website at http://www.lowellmilkencenter.org/featur....

Rebekah Frese of Carlisle High School, Iowa, earned second place and $2,000 for developing an interactive website on Iowan Richard Thomas's idea -- later known as the "hog lift"-- to send breeding stock to Yamanashi, Japan, after it was devastated by typhoons in 1959.

"Rebekah Frese's emphasis on diversity and understanding presents a deeply insightful perspective on Richard Thomas's act of international diplomacy as well as the broad and lasting impact it has had on U.S.-Japanese relations," Conard said in the release. Visit http://www.lowellmilkencenter.org/featur... for more information.

The $1,000 third-place prize was presented to Li Downs, Emma Rosati and Savannah Winchell of the Denver School of the Arts, Colorado, who produced a documentary film paying tribute to former Gov. Ralph Carr and his little-known advocacy for the Japanese-Americans who settled in Colorado in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. For more information, visit http://www.lowellmilkencenter.org/featur....

"This project has an outstanding topic and great visuals," Conard said in the release. "The students used a fascinating event to demonstrate high-quality filmmaking and project-based learning. The presentation is extremely resourceful and enthusiastic."

Honorable mentions went to the fourth-grade students of Kerin Motsinger at Park View Elementary in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and the fourth-grade students of Yuuko Arikawa at Ka'ala Elementary School in Wahiawa, Hawaii. Each group submitted three projects.

The Discovery Award competition requires projects to be classified as either documentary/multimedia; performance or website. Requirements include:

* Portrayal of an unsung hero whose work has shown impact over time and has shown a change in history;

* Originality of the topic and research;

* Potential for life beyond the development of the project; and

* Ability to inspire students to take sustainable actions to continue the legacies of their subjects.

Participants are encouraged to develop their projects during the school year in which they enter the competition. The awards are open to U.S. students in grades four-12.

Projects are judged by educators who are expert in project-based learning, those whose own students have been recognized on a national level over the past three decades. Judges look for projects which demonstrate impact, creativity and outstanding primary research.

Established in 2007, the Lowell Milken Center discovers, develops and communicates the stories of unsung heroes who have made a profound and positive difference in the course of history. Based in Fort Scott, it opened in 2007 and in that time has reached 5,000 schools and 575,000 students in all 50 states and 20 countries.

For more information about the center and how to enter the 2012-13 Discovery Award competition, go to www.lowellmilkencenter.org.

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