inovators 1Educators know that test scores and grade point averages don’t always tell the whole story. To recognize and celebrate those students whose contributions are innovative, creative, or inspirational, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has launched a new awards program, “Celebrating High School Innovators.”

“The motivation, creativity and tenacity to innovate are essential for our society,” explained Ray Price, co-director of the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education at Illinois.  Price and his team partnered with Paul Ritter, a biology, ecology, and earth science teacher at Pontiac Township High School, to develop a special event to honor high school students across Illinois who have been able to meet current and emerging social needs through innovation in one of five areas: Arts, Media, & Literature; Business Entrepreneurship; Food, Health & Nutrition; Social Entrepreneurship; and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM).

The new program, which has the endorsement of several Illinois teachers associations, the regional superintendents of schools, and the Governor’s office, reflects the organizers’ belief that test scores and grade point averages do not tell us every important thing about our students. 
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