Oral History Project on ‘Nation of Immigrants’ Helps Students Connect Their Own Stories to the World: The Third-Place Innovative Idea in the ING Unsung Heroes® Awards Program
The ING Unsung Heroes® Program Has Given Nearly $4 Million to Honor Innovation and Creativity Among the Nation’s Educators
ING U.S., a financial services company and leading provider of retirement plans and programs for educators, announced that Thi Bui, an art and computer teacher at Oakland International High School in Oakland, Calif., has received the third-place prize in the national 2012 ING Unsung Heroes® awards program. Through this program, ING U.S. awards grants to educators throughout the U.S. for innovative teaching ideas. As the third-place winner, selected from more than 1,300 applications, Bui will receive $5,000 to add to her initial $2,000 grant, bringing her grant total to $7,000 to help fund “Whole Village Saturday Academy,” her award-winning program she is implementing at Oakland International High School.
“Oakland International was founded in 2007 by six teachers and a principal who had a vision for changing the educational opportunities for newly arrived immigrants in Oakland. Thi Bui was one of these founding visionaries,” said Carmelita Reyes, principal at Oakland International High School. “Thi’s dedication to the cause came in part because of her own immigration experience as a refugee from Vietnam. She has worn many hats and met the never-ending needs of our students. Thi's work has been integral to the success of our school and her students, and we are proud she has received this honor from ING U.S.”
Bui’s winning program, “A Nation of Immigrants,” is an oral history project for students at Oakland International High School. The students, who are in the 11th grade, are all English Language Learners and recent immigrants to the U.S. Bui, who is teaching a computer class this year, is collaborating with a U.S. History teacher and a group of other teachers to enhance the U.S. History class through an interdisciplinary unit and multimedia project. The educators will create an online interactive world map with links to web pages created by the students. The pages will include stories, photos, drawings, and audio and video of students’ experiences from different parts of the world. In the U.S. History class, students will study the causes of immigration. The subjects will be combined as the students analyze patterns in their collective experiences and contextualize the experiences within a larger timeline of immigration in the U.S. They will use what they learn to predict future immigration trends and how they can advocate for such an important issue.
Students who participate in A Nation of Immigrants will gain hands-on experience to learn how history is made of real people’s experiences. The program will not only empower students in the program but also other students around the country who are dealing with similar issues. Bui, who lives in Berkeley, hopes the program will enable youth to connect their own stories to a larger understanding of the world in which they live. With the funds from the ING U.S. grant, Bui will purchase an oral recording station that includes a video camera, tripod, microphone, laptop and an audio/visual cart. This will help to enrich the quality of the oral history recordings, allow for family members and other adults in the community to be interviewed and ultimately for the program to be shared with lawmakers who make decisions that impact immigrants in the U.S.
“ING U.S. is proud of the hard work and dedication of all of our nation’s teachers,” said Maliz Beams, CEO of ING U.S. Retirement. “It is a privilege to invest in the innovative ideas of educators across the U.S. who are preparing our children for the future. We hope the additional funds Thi Bui is awarded through ING Unsung Heroes will help sustain her A Nation of Immigrants program and continue to make an impact on the children in her community.”
ING U.S. began the ING Unsung Heroes program in 1996 to demonstrate the company’s commitment to the education community. Over the years, the program has awarded nearly $4 million to 1,700 educators in kindergarten through 12th grade for their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence the children they teach.
To learn more about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the ING Unsung Heroes website (unsungheroes.com). More information about the program can also be found on the ING Unsung Heroes Facebook page (facebook.com/unsungheroesgrant) where people can like and share the page to encourage more educators to apply. Applications for the 2013 ING Unsung Heroes awards are available on the website.
Audria Belton Benn
About ING U.S.
ING U.S. constitutes the U.S.-based retirement, investment management and life insurance operations of Netherlands-based ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING). In the U.S., the ING family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, including retirement plans, IRA rollovers and transfers, stable value, institutional investment management, mutual funds, alternative investments, life insurance, employee benefits, fixed and indexed annuities and financial planning. ING U.S. holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 13 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit http://ing.us.