Since 1996, the Voya Unsung Heroes program has awarded more than $5 million to help the nation’s educators turn creative teaching ideas into reality.

Voya Financial Inc., a provider of workplace retirement solutions, including savings plans for K-12 educators, announced this week that Jerad Dampson, a teacher at Pace High School, has received a $2,000 grant as part of the company’s 2017 Voya Unsung Heroes awards competition.

“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 Jerad Dampson to continue to impact the lives of young people who will one day be the future leaders of our communities.”

Dampson’s innovative teaching idea, “Sports Journalism Upstart,” focuses on providing an environment for students interested in sports broadcasting where all participants will have an opportunity to connect happenings at Pace High School with the local community.

Students involved in the project will be placed in a sports newsroom-like environment where they will take positions divided by sport, platform and task. This could include camera operations, field reporters, news desk directors, graphic arts, website management and so on. Although many schools in the area have been exposed to a multimedia class for school events, there is no current focus on sports news and coverage exclusively. Dampson’s program will provide that platform for students.

Selected from a group of more than 1,200 applicants, Dampson is one of only 100 winners across the country who will receive this award to help fund and bring his program to life.

In addition he 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.