Four Byng Elementary School teachers are earning national recognition for their innovative approach to helping students grow.

Counselor Carrie Boyd and teachers Chris Elliott, Becky Henderson and Mikella Mims recently won a $2,000 grant as part of Voya Financial’s 2018 Voya Unsung Heroes competition, Voya announced Thursday. The nationwide competition awards grants to K-12 teachers who use innovative teaching methods, develop creative educational projects and demonstrate a positive influence on their students.

“Our Unsung Heroes program continues to recognize teachers who go above and beyond to inspire today’s students in the classroom,” Voya Financial’s President of Tax-Exempt Markets, Heather Lavallee, said. “We are proud to honor teachers like this group, whose inspiring program is making a difference in the lives of young people.”

The Byng teachers received the grant for their “Makerspace in the Library” project, which focuses on creating an area in the Byng Elementary School library where students can grow and learn. The grant will help the group create new opportunities for students to branch out from their regular classroom lessons.

“Through hands-on activities and experiments, teachers will be able to engage students through the use of robotics, craft activities and sewing,” Voya said in a news release.

“Students will also have the ability to discover new opportunities to grow personally.”

The group, which was chosen from a pool of more than 1,200 applicants, was one of only 100 winners across the country who will receive grants to help bring their project to life. The group will also compete with other finalists for one of the competition’s top three prizes — an extra $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 from Voya Financial.

The Unsung Heroes program is currently accepting applications for the 2019 awards.

Applications will be accepted through the program’s website,

Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.