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May 02, 2016

Juanita High School Wins $10,000 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom ‘MVP Award’

McMicken Heights Elementary School receives special Heroes ‘10th anniversary’ award  
BELLEVUE, Wash.—Symetra and the Seattle Seahawks awarded Juanita High School in Kirkland, Washington, with the 2015 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® “MVP Award.” The organizations also recognized McMicken Heights Elementary School in SeaTac, Washington, with a special award in honor of the teacher-recognition program’s 10th anniversary. Both schools will receive a $10,000 grant to fund innovative student achievement programs that focus on serving English Language Learners.
“The opportunity to help fund two programs meeting a critical need is one of the most rewarding aspects of the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program,” said Tracy Wort, assistant director, Community Relations. “As a company, Symetra seeks to help others reach higher and fly further in life, and we believe Juanita High School and McMicken Heights Elementary will do exactly that by helping English Language Learners thrive as members of our community. We are proud to support innovation in our local schools.”
The winning programs—The Global Library (Juanita High School) and Building Bridges to Student Success (McMicken Heights Elementary)—were announced at an April 29 luncheon at CenturyLink Field celebrating the 16 Puget Sound-area teachers recognized as Symetra Heroes in the Classroom during the 2015 NFL season.
Wort and Mike Flood, Seattle Seahawks vice president, Community Relations and Special Projects, made the presentations to Juanita High School Principal Gary Moed and McMicken Heights Elementary Principal Alexandria Haas.
“A wealth of studies in the past decade strongly indicates that English Language Learner (ELL) students learn better, earn higher grades, and become less likely to drop out when they supplement content-area classes with learning in their home language,” said Moed. “The Global Library will be a multi-purpose, multi-cultural reading room for the school and broader community that will allow Juanita High School to better serve our ELL students, promote cultural awareness and bilingualism in our general population, and extend our reach into the portions of our community that historically have tended to be marginalized.”
“We have seen a need in our family community for accessible and approachable ways for them to learn both content and methods to support their children at home. Bridges to Student Success is a monthly program that allows families to meet with school administrators and teaching staff in the community room of a nearby apartment complex that is home to a significant number of our English Language Learners,” says McMicken Heights Principal Alexandria Haas. “Recent end-of-year math data indicate that we are lagging behind district and state averages, especially for our students who are learning English as a second language. Bridges to Student Success was developed in response to the need to increase family engagement and participation in academic-focused events that help boost academic achievement with this student population.” 
The Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program honors K-12 teachers for educational excellence throughout the NFL’s regular season. Each of the 16 Puget Sound-area schools with a teacher/Hero is eligible to submit an MVP Award proposal (Juanita High School chemistry instructor Michael Bailey was a 2015 Symetra Hero in the Classroom). Nominated programs are evaluated on a range of criteria, including innovation, feasibility and demonstrated need.
About Symetra Heroes in the Classroom®
Since 2006, some 216 K–12 teachers have been celebrated as Symetra Heroes in the Classroom. 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 skills. Teachers may be nominated by their principal, district staff, student or student’s parent.
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 $1,000 donation to each teacher-Hero’s school for classroom books and supplies. 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, Wash. 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

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Symetra Media Relations:
Diana McSweeney
(425) 256-6167

Seattle Seahawks:
Suzanne Lavender
(425) 203-8024


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