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Sand Point Elementary School Wins $20,000 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom ‘MVP Award’
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Sand Point Elementary School Wins $20,000 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom ‘MVP Award’

BELLEVUE, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Symetra and the Seattle Seahawks awarded Sand Point Elementary School in
Seattle with the 2018 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® “MVP
Award.” The $20,000 education grant will fund “Hear Our Voices,” an
innovative student achievement program focused on providing a platform
for fourth- and fifth-grade students to share stories by recording and
producing oral histories. Students will use technology to create a
digital library that can be accessed at school and in the community to
encourage a better understanding of the diversity in the school’s
learning community, students’ connectedness with one another, and
relationships between home and school culture.

“Symetra is proud to act as a catalyst for innovative programs that
benefit our local schools. ‘Hear Our Voices’ is a creative concept that
will help build academic skills and build bridges between students,”
said Sharmila Swenson, AVP, Public Affairs at Symetra. “Together with
the Seahawks, we applaud educators like the Sand Point Elementary School
team who recognize the wonderful, diverse voices that make up a school
community and are providing a platform for young students to share their
unique stories and learn from each other.”

“Hear Our Voices” was announced as the grant recipient during an April
19 luncheon reception held in the Coach’s Loft at CenturyLink Field to
celebrate the 16 King County teachers recognized as Symetra Heroes in
the Classroom during the 2018 NFL season. The program honors K-12
teachers for educational excellence and offers each of the 16 schools
with a teacher-Hero the opportunity to submit an MVP Award proposal.
Nominated programs are evaluated on a range of criteria, including
innovation, feasibility and demonstrated need.

Swenson and Mike Flood, vice president of Community Outreach for the
Seahawks, presented the MVP Award to Sand Point Elementary School
Principal Kristen Roberts and Zoe Manzo, a Sand Point Elementary
teacher, 2018 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom honoree, and key
contributor to the “Hear Our Voices” proposal.

About the “Hear Our Voices” Program

“Hear Our Voices” seeks to integrate social emotional learning (SEL),
writing, speaking, listening and pre-vocational technology skills while
simultaneously giving voice to all of Sand Point Elementary School’s
students, including often-underrepresented populations. The school’s
diverse demographics — 66 percent of students identify as non-white, 44
percent qualify for free and reduced lunch, and 21 percent identify as
English Language Learners — present unique academic challenges. “Hear
Our Voices” will support all Sand Point students by creating a common
expressive language around personal challenges and life experiences. The
program gives each of the diverse voices in the school community a
platform to share and learn from one another.

“Hear Our Voices” will employ a multidisciplinary framework to achieve
multiple academic goals. The program harnesses the power of a student’s
personal and family narratives to use as the framework for SEL and
writing. It also provides students with the pre-vocational technology
skills necessary for college and career readiness by teaching them how
to use field-recording devices and sound recording and editing software
to capture and edit the stories.

About Symetra Heroes in the Classroom®

Since 2006, Symetra Heroes in the Classroom has celebrated 264 K–12
teachers across the Puget Sound and contributed $640,000 for
schoolbooks, classroom supplies and equipment, and in support of
innovative student programming.

Symetra Heroes in the Classroom are recognized in front of their
students and peers at surprise in-school presentations. They receive
tickets to a Seahawks home game, where they are acknowledged during
on-field presentations at CenturyLink Field. In addition, Symetra makes
a $2,000 donation to each teacher-Hero’s school for classroom books and

Teachers may be nominated by their principal, district staff, student or
student’s parent. The honorees are selected based on their ability to
make a real difference in students’ lives; to go above and beyond in
their day-to-day responsibilities; and to help students build life

For more information about the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program
or to nominate a teacher, visit

About Symetra

Symetra Financial Corporation is a diversified financial services
company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra
provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a
national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions, and
independent agents and advisors. For more information, visit


Diana McSweeney
(425) 256-6167

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