Baltimore Educator Wins Second-Place Voya Unsung Heroes Award

“Fairmount News Station” provides interactive vehicle for students with disabilities to master new skills and gain proficiencies in news broadcasting

Deidre Rabuck, an assistant principal at the Kennedy Krieger School: Fairmount Campus in Baltimore won the second-place grant award in the annual Voya Unsung Heroes program. Voya Financial is the leading provider of retirement plans for educators.

Through the Unsung Heroes program, Voya awards $2,000 grants to 100 K–12 educators across the country each year to support their innovative and creative teaching ideas. Voya also selects three top winners to receive additional funds. In its 20-plus years, the program has awarded over $5 million in grants to roughly 2,000 educators across the United States.

As the second-place winner, Rabuck will receive $10,000 in addition to the $2,000 grant— bringing her total financial award to $12,000. This money will be used to help bring “Fairmount News Station” to life at the Kennedy Krieger School: Fairmount Campus.

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(Left to right) Voya's Doug Peters and advisor Alicia Kong, along with Mark Jackowitz and Sarala Katta, both of Voya Financial, surround Deidre Rabuck (center), Voya's 2018 Unsung Heroes program second-place $12,000 grant award winner. Rabuck is an assistant principal at the Kennedy Krieger School: Fairmount Campus in Baltimore and she plans to use the grant award to help bring “Fairmount News Station” to life at her school.

“At Voya, we are focused on making a difference as we serve our clients and customers, and we’re thrilled to recognize our nation’s teachers who go above and beyond to inspire today’s students,” said Heather Lavallee, president of Tax-Exempt Markets at Voya Financial. “For more than 20 years, our Unsung Heroes program has empowered educators like Deidre to bring their innovative ideas to life, and we are honored to recognize her as our 2018 second-place winner.”

Rabuck’s innovative teaching idea, “Fairmount News Station,” focuses on giving the students at the Kennedy Krieger School: Fairmount Campus who have learning, behavioral and physical disabilities the opportunity to write, produce and star in the school’s morning announcement “news series.” With a goal of mirroring an authentic local news broadcast, students will create content, prepare written scripts, design background scenes, record the broadcast and deliver the finished newscasts to the school’s classrooms.

“The Kennedy Krieger School Fairmount Campus is thankful for Voya’s support and recognition of Deidre Rabuck’s vision for a student run broadcast studio,” said Sandi Jenkins, principal of the Kennedy Krieger School: Fairmount Campus. “The studio will allow our students to work on writing, public speaking, executive functioning and many other important skills. With Voya’s support and Deidre’s drive, energy and expertise, our students will have the opportunity to actively participate in broadcasts throughout the school year.”

With the Voya grant, Rabuck plans to purchase the necessary equipment to accommodate the various disabilities and diverse learning styles of the students as each broadcast will involve varying complexities. This will provide students with opportunities to move outside of their comfort zones and work cooperatively and master a variety of new skills— all proficiencies that are especially important among students with disabilities to gain confidence and life experience.

To learn more about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the Unsung Heroes website: Voya.com/UnsungHeroes. Applications for the 2019 Voya Unsung Heroes awards are currently being accepted through the website until April 30, 2019.

Unsung Heroes is part of Voya’s broader efforts to empower teachers to become leaders by promoting their careers, recognizing high-achieving accomplishments, providing training opportunities and offering financial support to achieve their goals.