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Kissimmee Educator Wins National Award
for Innovative Teaching

Daniella Hickling, a teacher at New Dimensions High School in Osceola County, was recently recognized as one of the nation's most innovative educators in the 2005 ING Unsung Heroes awards program. Hickling was selected from a group of nearly 1,150 educators as one of 100 winners who received a $2,000 award to help bring her innovative "Passion for Change" idea to life in the classroom. She will now vie with other winners for one of the top three prizes, an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000.

The "Passion for Change" conference that helped Hickling capture the award is hosted by New Dimensions High School and allows her students to learn the impact history and culture have on society. Leading up to the three-day event, students will research the political, economic, social and cultural changes of Francophone and Latin American history. Particular topics of interest include colonization of the New World, the Renaissance, slavery, economics and other subject areas. Students will then present their findings at the school conference, which will include roundtable discussions and a cultural fashion show. It will also have exhibitions, dramatic interpretations of literary works, and opportunities to learn about culture through music, dance and food. In the end, participants will have taken ownership of their learning, shared their findings with others and built research portfolios.

The ING Unsung Heroes awards program recognizes kindergarten through 12th grade educators nationwide for their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects, and ability to make a positive influence on the children they teach. Created in 1995, this year marks the 10th year anniversary of the program that has now awarded more than $2.3 million to nearly 1,000 educators across the United States. To learn about this year's winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the ING Unsung Heroes website at